In 2011, ACMA pressured the telco industry to get its act together on how customers are treated. After extended drafting and consultation phases, Comms Alliance has submitted an aggressive new TCP Code to ACMA for registration. The question is now: Is the new draft code tough enough for ACMA?
As CSP Central has previously explained, ACMA and ACCC are not falling over themselves to approve the Alliance’s work.
Comms Alliance’s take on it
Under the admirably optimistic headline TCP Code Heralds New Era of Improved Service for Australian Telecommunications Consumers, Comms Alliance has announced:
Australia’s communications consumers will enjoy better service, clearer pricing and a far-reaching framework of strong protections under a new industry Code submitted for registration today by Communications Alliance.
The revised Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code was approved for submission to the industry regulator – the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) – by the Board of Communications Alliance.
The revised TCP Code provides a fundamental overhaul of the previous code, with broader and stronger consumer protections across all elements of telecommunications services to consumers and small business customers in Australia.
But ACMA isn’t promising to buy it
In a rather less enthusiastic statement, ACMA replied:
ACMA response to Telecommunications Protections Code
‘The Australian Communications and Media Authority will assess the Telecommunications Protections Code provided to us today seeking registration as the industry’s code,’ said ACMA chairman, Chris Chapman.
‘The ACMA is aware that the revised TCP code was approved today by the Board of Communications Alliance for submission to the ACMA.
‘We will consider whether the proposed industry code will deliver on the outcomes mandated in the ACMA’s Reconnecting the Customer Report.
However, we do understand that Communications Alliance have carefully considered the ACMA’s report.
‘We are under no time limit in which to assess the code although of course, we will do this as expeditiously as possible, given our focus is on materially enhancing consumer protections,’ Mr Chapman said.
So what’s the difference between the public consultation draft and the version submitted to ACMA?
In the public consultation phase, ACCC excoriated the consultation draft TCP Code. If that’s any clue to ACMA’s thinking, Comms Alliance needed to make significant changes to the draft to allow it any chance of ACMA approval. So in the interests of understanding what happened inside Comms Alliance following consultation, here’s an unofficial comparison version of the two proposals. Do the changes go far enough to satisfy ACMA?
Time, as they say, will tell.