Issue No 2: 8 February 2021



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Telecommunications Critical Infrastructure Information

Australia’s telecommunications providers strongly agree that emergency services organisations should have access to information about the telecommunications network infrastructure that is needed to protect networks and citizens during emergency situations.

Responding to recent comments from Federal Emergency Services Minister, David Littleproud, Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said that members of Communications Alliance (CA) agree that the safety and wellbeing of all Australians is the number one priority.

“Whether it is during times of natural disaster, combating pandemics or assisting customers of domestic violence or financial hardship, mobile carriers are first and foremost engaging to ensure the lives of Australians are well protected,” Mr Stanton said.

“Mobile carriers are also well aware that the infrastructure they provide – including in real-time – is critical during times of natural disaster and are constantly engaging with state jurisdictions and emergency services organisations during times of disaster to ensure communications are protected and available in order to assist with emergency response and ultimately save lives.

“Communications Alliance members have been actively engaged in discussions in the Communications Resilience Administration Industry Group within CA, on the provision of critical information and are currently developing a Guideline to provide guidance to industry, states / territories and emergency services organisations on the information which should be provided. These discussions are also centred around ensuring that information provided is kept safe, stored securely and have appropriate access controls and will not pose any threats to national security.

“Mobile carriers are well advanced in holding separate discussions with the NSW Spatial Services department and have participated in demonstrations of the NSW Digital Twin, a database which already holds a vast amount of publicly available infrastructure information (via the Radio Frequency National Site Archive). Some mobile carriers have also noted that they have provided information to some states and territories, whilst they await a response from other states on where they can send the information,” Mr Stanton concluded.

Telecommunications Industry Welcomes Drop in Customer Complaints

Communications Alliance welcomed the announcement by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) that complaints dropped by 11.2% in the most recent quarter. 

“Challenges during COVID such as shutdowns of call centres impacted customer experience last year, but this significant drop in complaints – across all service types - reflects the work by telcos to meet these challenges and keep Australians connected,” said Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton. 

This quarter’s report follows the TIO’s 2019-2020 Annual Report, published in September, which reflected a third annual decrease in complaints.

Telcos are delivering improved customer service while constantly increasing value and offering lower prices, as shown by the ACCC’s 2019-2020 Communications Market report.

Mr Stanton said: “while complaints from residential consumers decreased at a faster rate than those from small businesses, we are pleased to see that complaint rates from both types of consumers decreased during the last quarter. 

“We are grateful for the Ombudsman’s work to assist consumers and industry during the challenges of the last year, and are pleased to see complaint levels trending back towards pre-pandemic levels. Industry will continue working with the TIO and other stakeholders to improve customer experience,” Mr Stanton concluded.

Safer Internet Day – 9 February 2021

On Safer Internet Day the world comes together with a shared vision of making online experiences better for everyone.

For further information visit: https://www.esafety.gov.au/sid.


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