Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code Review 2024

Welcome to the main page for the 2024 TCP Review.

This page includes basic information on the Code and outlines the process currently underway to review and update it. This includes:

  • Background - Brief information about the Code, include a link to the current Code.

  • 2024 review process and timeline - An overview of the 2024 process. Links take you to more detailed information about each stage and any relevant documentation (discussion papers, input summaries, etc.).

  • Transparency and independence - An overview of arrangements in place to ensure fairness, transparency of process and independence of process. Includes information about the Independent Adviser.

Background

Consumers of communications products and services in Australia are protected by federal telecommunication-specific legislation and regulation, and by general consumer laws at both a federal and state level.

Co-regulatory arrangements facilitate the objectives of federal legislation through registered and enforceable industry Codes developed under Part 6 of the Telecommunications Act.
 
The Communications Alliance Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code (the Code) is a registered, enforceable Code that sets minimum customer protection requirements for the direct interactions between service providers and their residential and small business mobile, landline and internet (including NBN) customers. It currently covers the key areas of advertising and sales, service and contracts, billing, credit and debt management, financial hardship and changing suppliers. 

The current Code was registered in 2019, with minor amendments included in 2022.

A full review is due in 2024 (‘2024 Review’) – with preparatory work commencing in 2023.

2024 Review and Revision Process and Timeline

The 2024 review and revision process will comprise 3 stages as outlined below. Click through for more information about each stage. More detailed information about the process is also included in the Discussion Paper (see Stage 1, below).

It is anticipated that a revised Code would be submitted to the ACMA for consideration for registration in approximately mid-2024.

Note: Dates for stages 2 and 3 are indicative and may change.

Stage 1 Information-gathering

May - Aug 2023

Pre-code-drafting stage information-gathering exercises will set the foundations for the rest of the review:

a) Discussion Paper (Deadline: CLOSED 6 June. Public submissions received are now available here.

b) One-on-one discussions (Deadline: CLOSED 24 July. One-on-One stakeholder meeting report is available here.)

Stage 2 Iterative drafting

Aug/Sept – Q1 2024 (TBC)

 

December 14

Iterative Code drafting will be managed by a small industry Drafting Committee.

Drafting work will be informed by stage 1 and targeted discussions with stakeholders (engaging on topics relevant to each). 

 A comprehensive package comprising CA and it’s member’s definitive and agreed views on the TCP Code was submitted to ACMA on the 14th of December - available HERE.

Stage 3 Formal consultation

Early Q2 2024 (TBC)

(Minimum 30 days consultation) Formal public consultation on a revised draft TCP Code.

Release draft revised Code for public consultation.  

Additional steps

Throughout

Periodically, throughout from start of stage 2

Additional stakeholder engagement as required.

Stage reports summaries, online.
Monthly review meetings with an Independent Adviser (IA) and Review Committee.

June 2024 - Code submission to the ACMA




Submit Code to the ACMA for registration.  

(Note: the current Code continues to be in force until a new Code is registered. It does not expire.)



Transparency and Independence of Process

Transparency of process and independence of process at each stage will be ensured through appropriate documentation and reporting.

Transparency of the review process will be ensured through:

- publication on this website of:

  • submissions received in response to the discussion paper,
  • a summary of key issues identified through the one-on-one meetings,
  • summary information about input and discussions about input and progress relating to each additional stage. This will also be shared periodically through appropriate forums.
 - maintenance of drafting records to document how key identified issues have been managed (i.e. has the issue been addressed within the Code revision? If not, why not?), and

- regular, scheduled sharing of information with an Independent Adviser (IA) and Review Committee, as described below. 

Independent Adviser

Regulatory expert Michael Cosgrave has been appointed as an Independent Adviser (IA) for the Code’s review and revision.

Mr Cosgrave held senior managerial positions with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for 25 years until August 2021, and was the most senior ACCC official on telecommunications for two decades. More recently, he has provided consultancy and advisory services to both government and corporate clients, with a principal focus being the provision of independent assurance of transparency of process and compliance with the principles of operation. Relevant recent roles include his appointment by the Australian Government to the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee. His short biography is available here.

The IA will monitor and advise on the revision process to verify whether it is fair and reasonable and appropriately transparent, in line with specific terms as identified in the IA, TCP Code Review Terms of Reference.

The role includes the ability for the Independent Adviser to directly engage with all stakeholders, including consumer representatives and regulatory agencies, and provide regular reports to the CA Board on the revision process.

More details on Mr Cosgrave’s appointment are included in Communication Alliance’s media release.

Drafting Committee

A small industry working group (‘Drafting Committee’) is responsible for managing the TCP Code review, supported by a Communications Alliance project manager. The IA may also attend Drafting Committee meetings, at his discretion. 

The Drafting Committee will include: Aussie Broadband, Optus, Telstra, TPG Telecom,Twilio and Vocus.

Terms of Reference for the Drafting Committee are available here.

Review Committee

A working committee comprising the IA, Drafting Committee, consumer representatives, the TIO and government agencies ('Review Committee') will review outputs of the Drafting Committee and will provide timely, constructive and considered feedback and advice about the revision process and the adequacy of Code revisions proposed.

The Review Committee will include: the Independent Adviser (IA); ACCAN, Aussie Broadband, Optus, Telstra, TPG Telecom,Twilio, Vocus + an additional consumer group (TBC) (members); ACCC, ACMA, Department of Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (DITRDCA), TIO (observers).

Terms of Reference for the Review Committee are available here.