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Telstras Universal Service Obligation - Policy Statement

By Amber Fox,2014-11-25 19:48
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Telstras Universal Service Obligation - Policy Statement

    Universal Service Obligation

    POLICY STATEMENT

    Approved by the Australian Communications Authority 30 October 2001. A variation of this policy statement, incorporating reference to Telstra’s Priority Assistance for

     policy, was approved by the Australian Individuals

    Communications Authority with effect from 16 September

    2002. A further variation of this policy statement was approved by the Australian Communications Authority with

    effect from 29 June 2005.

    Telstra’s Universal Service Obligation Policy Statement

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

POLICY STATEMENT

    TABLE OF CONTENTS ........................................................................................ 2

    1. Introduction ......................................................................................... 3

    2. “Reasonable Access” ......................................................................... 5

    3. Fulfilling the Universal Service Obligation ................................ 7

    3.1 Standard Telephone Services and Payphones ............................. 7

    3.2 People with a Disability ................................................................... 8

    3.2.1 Overview ......................................................................................... 8

    3.2.2 Telstra’s Disability Action Plan ............................................................ 8

    3.2.3 Consultation .................................................................................... 9

    3.3 Remote Aboriginal and Islander Communities ............................ 9

    3.4 Priority Assistance for Individuals ................................................... 9

3.5 Non-commercial emergency, essential and community service

    organisations ............................................................................................ 11

    3.6 Customer Complaints .................................................................... 11

    Page 2 of 11

    Telstra’s Universal Service Obligation Policy Statement

1. Introduction

The universal service obligation incorporated into the Telecommunications (Consumer

    (the Act), is designed to ensure that all people Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999

    in Australia, no matter where they live or conduct business, have reasonable access on an equitable basis to:

(i) standard telephone services;

(ii) payphones; and

(iii) prescribed carriage services;

    each of which is classified as a separate service obligation. There are currently no prescribed carriage services.

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (the ) may Minister

    make a written determination that a service area (generally, an area of land within Australia), determined in any way the Minister considers appropriate, is a universal service area in respect of one or more of these service obligations.

    The universal service obligation is fulfilled by universal service providers (either primary universal service providers or, where the Minister has determined that a service obligation for a universal service area is contestable, competing universal service providers). All universal service areas have a primary universal service provider for each service obligation.

    The Minister has determined that Telstra is the primary universal service provider for the whole of Australia in respect of the service obligations dealing with standard telephone services, payphones and prescribed carriage services.

    In fulfilling its universal service obligation, Telstra will comply with the relevant requirements of the Act.

    Where a service obligation is a contestable service obligation and a competing universal service provider for the universal service area concerned ceases to supply equipment, goods or services in that area, Telstra will, when requested by customers of the competing universal service provider, supply standard telephone services in accordance with the timeframes set out in Telstra’s standard marketing plan.

    This Policy Statement is a general statement of the policy Telstra will apply in supplying equipment, goods or services as the primary universal service provider.

    It describes the universal service obligation and the role of Telstra as the primary universal service provider.

Customers should also refer to Telstra’s Standard Marketing Plan, which describes the

    standard telephone service and payphone service that Telstra will supply in fulfilment of the universal service obligation, including timeframes for supply and repair of services, and performance standards.

    The universal service regime also includes the digital data service obligation, which is the obligation to ensure that either:

    (i) general digital data services; or

    (ii) special digital data services;

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    Telstra’s Universal Service Obligation Policy Statement

    are reasonably accessible to all people in Australia on an equitable basis, no matter where they live or conduct business.

    Telstra is a carrier declared by the Government to fulfil the digital data service obligation throughout Australia. Customers who require further information should refer to:

; Telstra’s Digital Data Service Plan for General Digital Data Service Areas;

; Telstra’s Digital Data Service Plan for Special Digital Data Service Areas.

    Both plans can be accessed on the Telstra web site or hard copies can be obtained by writing to the:

Group Manager

    Consumer & Compliance

    Telstra Regulatory, Corporate and Human Relations

    Level 39

    242 Exhibition St

    Melbourne Victoria 3000

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    Telstra’s Universal Service Obligation Policy Statement

2. “Reasonable Access”

     Broadly, all people in Australia, regardless of where they live or conduct business, should have reasonable access, on an equitable basis, to standard telephone services and payphones. “Reasonable access” is a key component of the universal service obligation.

    Any attempt to describe reasonable access in relation to the universal service obligation cannot be absolute. It must take account of those situations in which a normal carrier would not consider the net cost of supply to be excessive in the circumstances and where the standard telephone service could reasonably be supplied in an effective, efficient and economic way.

    Telstra will be taken to have fulfilled its universal service obligation by supplying and maintaining the first standard telephone service to another person (the customer) at each particular place of residence or place of business, if that standard telephone service is reasonably accessible to persons other than the customer reasonably requiring the use of that service in that property or place.

    The reasonable access policy objective of the universal service obligation will generally be met by the supply of the first standard telephone service to a place of residence or place of business.

    Telstra considers the test for reasonable fulfilment of the universal service obligation to be objective. That is, each case must be determined by reference to what would ordinarily be considered reasonable in the circumstances of the request for a particular standard telephone service. The universal service obligation is not an absolute right for every Australian to have the standard telephone service at whichever location they demand.

    In determining whether a person requesting a standard telephone service already has reasonable access to a standard telephone service, Telstra will consider the following general factors together with any other relevant circumstances:

    ; Is a standard telephone service already provided at the place of residence or place of

    business where the standard telephone service is requested?

    ; Does the place of residence or place of business where the standard telephone

    service is requested meet with any applicable ordinary principles of the meaning of a

    residence or business, for example, local planning laws?

    ; Is the place of residence self-contained? In other words, does it contain facilities to

    support independent living, for example, a separate kitchen and bathroom as

    opposed to shared facilities?

    ; Has the standard telephone service been requested for non-voice purposes? A service

    requested for telemetry purposes, for example, water level, weather data or traffic flow

    and the like will not be supplied under the universal service obligation.

    ; Has the standard telephone service been requested for a temporary site, for example,

    a mining exploration site? For temporary sites, Telstra will consider the supply of an

    interim service for the duration of the customer’s stay to ensure the universal service

    obligation is fulfilled in an efficient and economic manner.

    ; Is there sufficient physical security for telecommunications equipment, particularly at

    properties in remote areas or that are not permanently occupied?

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    Telstra’s Universal Service Obligation Policy Statement