Issue No 18: 1 August 2019



Hot Topics
  • ACOMMS Awards Dinner 2019: 15 August 2019 - Sold out!


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The awards will be presented at the 13th Annual ACOMMS Dinner to be held on 15th August 2019 at the Hyatt Regency, Sydney.  The Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, The Hon Paul Fletcher, will deliver the keynote address at the dinner.  This year comedian star, Claire Hooper, will be the MC for the evening.


Stronger Protections for Telecommunications Customers Take Effect Today

Telecommunications consumers will enjoy stronger protections starting today, as the updated enforceable Industry Code comes into force.

The revised Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code was written by Communications Alliance and its members in collaboration with consumer representatives, regulators and Government. It is a code of conduct for the telecommunications industry in Australia, providing community safeguards in the areas of sales, service and contracts, billing, credit and debt management, financial hardship, and changing suppliers.

The Code is mandatory for all telecommunications providers servicing residential and small business customers, and is enforced by the independent regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said “the upgraded protections touch on all customer interactions with their provider. This includes strengthened rules on selling practices, credit assessment, and financial hardship.

“These are priority areas for the ACMA and Communications Alliance has been working with them and the industry-created compliance body Communications Compliance to educate providers on their new obligations.”

When selling long-term, higher-cost services, Suppliers will now be required to perform an external credit check and obtain information as to how the Customer will be able to afford the contract - a change advocated for by Consumer representatives.

Suppliers will also have stricter rules on selling practices, requiring them to ensure that Sales Representatives promote and sell in a fair, transparent, responsible, and accurate manner, and that they clearly explain key terms and costs to Customers.

In addition to being enforced by the ACMA, compliance with the Code is monitored by the independent industry-created body, Communications Compliance (CommCom). All service providers covered by the TCP Code are obliged to attest to their compliance with the Code with CommCom.

The TCP Code 2019 was registered by the industry regulator, the ACMA on 1 July.

The Code, a list of all amendments, and other information for providers can be found on Communications Alliance’s website, and suppliers can find guidance notes on each of the Chapters and other tools to support their compliance work on the Communications Compliance CSP portal.

Misleading Sales Practices Not Welcome in the Telco Sector

Communications Alliance condemned the behaviour of a small number of service providers found to be engaged in misleading sales practices, as reported today by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

“It is very disappointing when a provider breaches consumer trust, and the rules it is required to observe,” said John Stanton, CEO of telecommunications industry body Communications Alliance.

“We are working with Communications Compliance and the ACMA to provide education on supplier requirements across the sector, and will always work with industry members who are looking to improve. We were pleased to see that a provider highlighted in the TIO’s report had revised its practices.”

“However, unfortunately in such a large marketplace – according to the TIO’s 2018 annual report, there were 1,600 providers – small and often transient players sometimes attempt to operate outside the rules.

“Providers like that are not welcome in our Industry. Communications Alliance members are working with the ACMA to act against such behaviour and prevent those providers from continuing to operate,” continued Stanton.

“Additionally, the strengthened Industry Code – the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code - comes into effect today, including vigorous new rules on selling practices, which will help the ACMA enforce against the practices raised in the TIO’s Spotlight.”

Peak Industry Body for the Internet of Things Announces New Chair of the Executive Council

The Internet of Things Alliance Australia Limited (IoTAA) has announced that Piers Hogarth-Scott, National Leader, Internet of Things at KPMG Digital Delta, has been appointed as Chairman of the Executive Council.

The Executive Council is the senior stakeholder advisory committee of the IoTAA, responsible for appointing the Board of Directors and providing guidance to address key enablers and inhibitors for the Australian IoT industry across 12 workstreams, including Smart Industries & Cities, Collaboration, Data Use, Availability & Privacy, Cyber Security & Network Resilience, Platforms & Interoperability, and IoT Start-ups.

Frank Zeichner, CEO, IoT Alliance Australia, says, “We are delighted that an executive of Piers’ calibre and experience has taken on the Executive Council Chair role. Piers is one of the pioneers of the industry and has built a leading IoT consulting practice at KPMG. I would also like to thank John Stanton, our outgoing EC Chair, who has performed this role with flair and dedication since the organisation transitioned from an IoT Think Tank within Communications Alliance  in 2016.”

Piers Hogarth-Scott says: “I am looking forward to working with the Board and Executive Council to help drive the IoTAA forward to accelerate innovation and adoption of IoT for economic and social benefit, in particular by promoting collaboration at all levels between industry and Government, across the SME community, start-ups and investors, between service providers and problem/opportunity owners.”

Outgoing Chair of the Executive Council, John Stanton says: “It has been a privilege  to serve as the founding EC Chair since inception of the IoTAA and to play a role helping to build the organisation that today consists of more 450 organisations and 850 individuals. I look forward to working with Piers as our new Executive Council Chair in my capacity as an EC member and CEO of Communications Alliance”.

Industry Guidance Note on Authorised Representatives and Advocates Published

Communications Alliance has published an Industry Guidance Note (IGN) providing further information to Suppliers on good practices in assisting Customers to appoint an Authorised Representative or Advocate. This supplements clauses 3.5 and 3.6 of the revised TCP Code, which commences on 1 August.

The IGN is available on Communications Alliance’s website.

Industry Guidance Notes are documents created by Communications Alliance to address a need for further guidance and/or clarification for a specific topic that has caused confusion among industry participants in the past or has the potential to do so.

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