Industry floats TCP code revisions to reduce red tape

Communications Alliance seeks to address “information overload” for telecom customers with fresh revisions to the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) code.

Comms Alliance said the revisions, released today for public comment, aim to remove duplicative, overlapping and unnecessary obligations.

“The review and rationalisation of the volume, duplication and prescription of obligations on service providers to provide information to customers is in keeping with the Government’s deregulatory agenda and will serve to reduce the burden of regulation without diminishing the customer protections contained within the TCP Code,” according to Comms Alliance CEO John Stanton.

Stanton said that removing the specified obligations on telcos would not have a negative impact on consumers because the overarching obligations would still exist in the Australian Consumer Law and other legislation.

“Consumers are also expected to benefit from amendments which will allow suppliers to tailor information provisions to the needs of their customer base,” he added.

In addition, Comms Alliance has added new guidance for industry on advertising and unfair terms, providing real-world example to help companies comply with the law when advertising a telecom product or service.

In light of the proposed changes to the TCP code, Comms Alliance has also recommended changes to other codes to remove duplication of customer information requirements.

They include changes to the Local Number Portability code, Mobile Number Portability code, Emergency Call Service Requirements code, ULLS Ordering, Provisioning and Customer Transfer code, Pre-Selection code and Customer and Network Fault Management.

A cross section of government and industry contributed to the work.

The working committee that wrote the proposed revisions referred to the Framework for Customer Information Provisions (PDF), which was developed by a joint committee including representatives from Comms Alliance, the Department of Communications, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

The public comment period on the TCP code revisions runs until 3 November.

Earlier this week, the ACMA, which enforces the TCP code, issued directions to 12 telecom providers that violated the consumer code by failing to lodge annually required documents.

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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