NATURAL DISASTERS IMPACT TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

Sydney, 20 May 2020: Today’s Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) quarterly report shows the impact that recent bushfires and floods had on telecommunications services.

Complaints to the TIO in the three months to the end of March 2020 were almost 14 per cent lower than in the corresponding period of 2019, but rose 13% compared to the previous quarter’s result.

Communications Alliance welcomed the TIO’s assistance during these difficult times for all Australians.

“The scale of the bushfire tragedy was unprecedented and put enormous pressure on telecommunications networks. Carriers worked around the clock to keep people connected, deploying additional generators and bringing in various technologies to provide temporary services in affected areas” said Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton.

“Ultimately, and as noted in the ACMA’s recent report on the 2019-20 bushfires, network outages were overwhelmingly due to loss of mains electricity, rather than fire damage.[1]

“The telecommunications industry is working with Federal and State Governments, emergency services agencies and electricity providers to bolster communications and improve our responses in any future disasters. Additionally, Government has recently announced additional investment to help communities stay connected during emergencies,” continued Stanton.[2]

“Q3 has historically had the highest number of complaints to the TIO, and despite the impact of these natural disasters, we are encouraged that this is the lowest number of complaints for Q3 in 3 years.

“Unfortunately, the devastating bushfires and floods are not the only crises facing Australians this year. As noted by the TIO, this report does not reflect the impacts of COVID-19, as those impacts began at the end of the quarter. Industry is working closely with the TIO, regulators, and Government to support Australians to stay connected through this crisis.”

Communications Alliance and AMTA have published information on updates on how Australia’s communication networks are responding to the increasing demand and traffic, as well as information and tips for customers to ensure minimal disruption to their service in the resource “Keeping Australians Connected.”

Stanton also said that “Through both the previous natural disasters and the current pandemic, telco service providers have been supporting Australians by increasing network capacity, adding data to plans, and assisting customers facing financial hardship.”

ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE
Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the  communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet  service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.

The most influential association in Australian communications, co-operatively initiating programs that promote sustainable industry development, innovation and growth, while generating positive outcomes for customers and society.  To create a co-operative stakeholder environment that allows the industry to take the lead on initiatives which grow the Australian communications industry, enhance the connectivity of all Australians and foster the highest standards of business behaviour.  For more details about Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.

Media information contact:
Sefiani
Neeley Williams nwilliams@sefiani.com.au
0434 742 551