Tuesday, 23 October 2018 06:00

ACCAN says triple-zero probe will benefit consumers

ACCAN says triple-zero probe will benefit consumers Pixabay

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, the peak body representing telecommunications users, has welcomed the announcement made by ACMA that an inquiry into outages of the triple zero service would lead to tightening of protections for consumers.

"[A total of] 1433 calls went unanswered during Telstra’s outage in May. It is not acceptable that Australians in their time of need were unable to reach emergency assistance,” ACCAN chief executive Teresa Corbin said in a statement.

“Being the contracted government supplier for the nation’s emergency lines means that the community holds Telstra to an understandably high standard.”

The investigation, by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, found that Telstra was in breach of a rule that requires it to ensure that triple-zero calls go to the emergency call service operator.

The triple zero service was hit by an outage in May, triggered by a fire in an inter-state cable pit and this was compounded by network software failure.

Later the same month, the Vocus network was hacked and a large volume of calls were directed to triple zero from that company's network on 26 May.

Reacting to the ACMA report, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said: “The government takes the safety of Australians seriously and the triple zero service is vital in keeping our community safe.

“This was the first serious disruption to the triple zero service in more than 50 years. With the measures the government is putting in place, Australians can feel confident the service will have greater safeguards in times of need.”

The ACCAN statement expressed the hope that the court enforceable undertakings agreed on by the ACMA and Telstra would "improve reliability for emergency services calls should the network experience issues such as those seen in May".

It said the organisation was looking forward to the ACMA’s review of the rules governing the emergency call service.

"ACCAN would like to see the triple zero emergency call service be modernised to reflect the channels people use to communicate, which is much broader than just calls," the statement added.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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