The federal government is aiming to introduce new telecommunications safeguards for small businesses and consumers via legislation introduced to Parliament on 7 December.
The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Enhancing Consumer Safeguards and Other Measures) Bill sets out to improve the statutory infrastructure provider (SIP) regime, which focuses on ensuring access to high-speed broadband and related protections.
According to a statement from the Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, the Bill will provide greater certainty for customers where their current SIP chooses to stop offering services, with the provider required to provide sufficient notice to NBN Co. Additionally, as the default SIP, NBN Co will have time to provide alternative infrastructure before the incumbent provider leaves the premises.
“Reliable connectivity is essential in our increasingly digital society, and consumer safeguards need to keep pace to help keep Australians online,” Rowland said, “This new Bill will ensure consumers are able to access the service they need and deserve – and provide appropriate protections where that service fails.
“The government will continue to work with industry and other stakeholders to get our regulatory setting rights and ensure we have robust systems in place that allow communities to reach their full potential.”
Additionally, the Bill will also bring private networks that service new developments into the SIP regime and will give the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) more capability to resolve service connection disputes directly with customers.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will also be granted new powers, such as requiring developers to remediate defective telco service infrastructure in new developers – putting related costs onto developers –and publishing telco provider’s performance metrics in its public reports.