According to Gerrand, "The current industry peak bodies, when operating in isolation to produce industry codes, are simply not structurally capable of resolving technically complex, generic network service problems that require intensive collaboration between the demand side (the potential victims) and the technically more sophisticated supply side (the service providers)'¦
"Any exclusively supply-side body, asked to solve a set of demand-side problems of any complexity, is simply unlikely to provide the necessary level of consultation and collaboration with user representatives that is essential to getting closure on the problems."
The ACMA earlier this year completed its long running enquiry 'Reconnecting the customer' and has threatened the industry with court-enforceable standards carrying penalties of up to $250,000 for a single breach, but, Gerrand says, even this will not produce a satisfactory outcome.
"To avoid the imposition of regulation with such 'teeth', the supply side bodies will undoubtedly do their best to come up with an improved [Telecommunications Consumer Protection] code. But without the necessary involvement of the directly affected consumer groups, the revised Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code is unlikely to be either well-targeted or effective."
Comms Alliance CEO, John Stanton, refuted Gerrand's claim that there had been inadequate involvement of consumer bodies in the development of the code.
He told iTWire: "Communications Alliance engages closely with consumer groups - notably ACCAN, which is an extremely well-resourced national body - particularly when it comes to Code development. There were 13 consumer reps directly involved in the development of the revised TCP Code - including two vote-carrying ACCAN representatives on the steering group, where an independent Chair, the ACMA, ACCC and DBCDE were also present.
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