Very pleased to welcome CEO of Telstra Andy Penn who today announced their new …

Very pleased to welcome the CEO of Telstra Andy Penn who today announced their new telecommunications investments to make landlines more …

Very pleased to welcome the CEO of Telstra Andy Penn who today announced their new telecommunications investments to make landlines more reliable across regional and rural Australia. #digitalconnectivity #regionalcomms

For more information: https://www.minister.communications.gov.au/minister/bridget-mckenzie/new…

/Public Release. View in full here.

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Telstra to act faster to fix copper faults

Telstra will be forced to repair copper lines used for vital voice services much faster and to keep a higher inventory of spare parts handy after a review …

Telstra will be forced to repair copper lines used for vital voice services much faster and to keep a higher inventory of spare parts handy after a review last year that was critical of its handling of faults.

CEO Andy Penn and the government laid out changes today that effectively force Telstra to conduct repairs in regional and remote areas faster than they are required to under the customer service guarantee (CSG).

The changes are a response to last year’s Regional Telecommunications Review, which was highly critical of Telstra’s approach to fixing faults.

“The committee was appalled to hear some of the excessive repair times for landline services, which extended through weeks and even months in some cases,” it said in its report to government.

“Telstra complied with the customer service guarantee benchmark, however, … there were more than 8500 businesses and families with a service that wasn’t repaired in the required timeframe.”

The review committee said that the landline disruption was exacerbated for many because they were out of mobile range, and therefore left without any connection.

The government still hasn’t formally responded to the review – this is expected to occur before the end of the month.

However, the Minister for Regional Services and Deputy Leader of the Nationals, Bridget McKenzie, jointly announced the action by Telstra in response to the review’s findings.

Under the new work committed by Telstra, it will repair and replace “around 1000 cable joints – and where necessary the cable itself – on the worst performing cables” in Australia.

It will replace “around 200 batteries in exchange and roadside cabinets where mains power failures are more frequent.”

It will also “increase stocks of pair gain units (approximately 800) to reduce repair time delays caused by having to wait for parts.”

“Telstra have already started work on its expanded plan and will keep the Government updated on progress,” McKenzie said in a statement.

“At completion of the expanded plan, Telstra will regularly monitor regional customer fault times on aged lines.”

Telstra CEO Andy Penn said that while Telstra met “the standards required [of it], there are still some customers who have to wait longer than they should for a service to be restored.”

“I understand the frustration this can cause, particularly where there are no other options,” he said.

“We are therefore expanding our regional maintenance plan further to address the primary sources of regional faults – so we can provide a better, more reliable service for our customers.”

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Telstra kicks off regional upgrade

In a blog post, Telstra CEO Andy Penn said that while Telstra meets its Universal Services Obligation (USO) standards, some customers do have to …
telstra-mobile-cell-tower.jpg

(Image: Telstra)

Telstra has announced a program of work to upgrade and maintain its services in regional Australia.

In a blog post, Telstra CEO Andy Penn said that while Telstra meets its Universal Services Obligation (USO) standards, some customers do have to “wait longer than they should” for services to be restored.

“I understand the frustration this can cause, particularly where there are no other options. We are therefore expanding our regional maintenance plan further to address the primary sources of regional faults so we can provide a better, more reliable service for our customers,” Penn said.

“This includes the proactive repair of cable joints, which can be a common cause of faults in the regional network, migrating customers from less reliable networks using outdated technology to more reliable networks, and the pro-active replacement of batteries in exchanges.”

Specifically, Telstra will be repairing or replacing 1,000 cable joints and some cabling on the worst-performing cables; migrating 350 customers off its old high-capacity radio concentrator (HCRC) network onto NextG Wireless Local Loop (NGWL) telephone services; and replacing around 200 batteries in exchanges and roadside cabinets where mains power failures occur frequently.

“We are also improving stock levels of equipment so our field teams can respond faster when something goes wrong,” Penn added.

Minister for Regional Services Bridget McKenzie welcomed the announcement, saying landlines will be made more reliable in regional and rural areas.

“Landlines are a lifeline for many regional Australians, and repeat faults and long repair timeframes are just not good enough and are significant pain points for those living in regional, rural, and remote areas,” McKenzie said.

“For some, a landline service is their only connection to the outside world and can literally mean the difference between life and death. It is essential these services are reliable, and that any issues are fixed quickly.”

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) CEO Teresa Corbin said “some of the issues” outlined in the Regional Telecommunications Review will be addressed by the program, including extended faults and repair time frames.

“Many of our members have been adversely impacted by a deteriorating landline service that is often not fixed within the specified Customer Service Guarantee timeframe,” she said.

“This was recognised by the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee, who said in their final report that they were ‘appalled’ at some of the excessive repair times reported for landline services, which extended through weeks and even months in some cases.”

ACMA scam project terms set

The Australian government has also released the terms of reference for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) program working to reduce scam activity on telco networks.

Under the terms of reference [PDF], published on Wednesday, the ACMA will consider existing and emerging technologies that enable scams; existing, new, and emerging technology that could reduce scams; costs and benefits of potential solutions; implementation issues; timing; and international approaches.

The ACMA is also set to have regard to “the importance of communications networks for the economic and social development of all Australians”; current scam policy and regulation; international programs that are supported by governments, industry, and consumers; research on consumer concerns about scams being perpetrated over telco networks; stakeholder opinions; and the costs to consumers and industry of any solutions.

Scams being delivered over the internet, such as online dating or online shopping scams, are not within the scope of the project.

The ACMA, which is also working with the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on the project, is set to release a discussion paper in the next few weeks. A final report is due in December.

“Scam calls are more than a nuisance. They pose a real threat, particularly to those in vulnerable circumstances such as older people,” ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said in December, with the ACMA saying recent research found that 50 percent of adults in Australia received scam calls weekly or even daily.

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Bush communications coalition welcomes Telstra’s commitment to deliver much needed landline …

The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) welcomed this morning’s announcement from Telstra about a program of works …

The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) welcomed this morning’s announcement from Telstra about a program of works it is undertaking to bolster landline services in regional, rural and remote Australia.

Telstra’s announcement addresses some of the issues around reliability of landline services identified in the November 2018 report of the Regional Telecommunications Review, such as extended faults and repair times for some Telstra customers in regional, rural and remote Australia.

National Farmers’ Federation CEO Tony Mahar said as a member of the RRRCC, the Federation had consistently advocated for access to reliable voice services for people living in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia.

“For many of these people Telstra’s fixed voice service is the only connection to the outside world if their internet service is not working. Voice services are literally a lifeline for many people – this lifeline must be maintained.”

“For this reason we welcome Telstra’s commitment today to make much needed repairs and upgrades to some of its landline infrastructure, and to a regular review of aged landline repairs.”

Teresa Corbin, Chief Executive of RRRCC member the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network said the RRRCC strongly supports measures that will deliver improved service repair times for regional, rural and remote customers.

“Many of our members have been adversely impacted by a deteriorating landline service that is often not fixed within the specified Customer Service Guarantee timeframe. This was recognised by the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee, who said in their final report that they were ‘appalled’ at some of the excessive repair times reported for landline services, which extended through weeks and even months in some cases.”

Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia co-founder Kristy Sparrow said the RRRCC was pleased to see Telstra’s commitment to migrate 350 customers off the ageing High Capacity Radio Concentrator (HCRC) network, which currently provides 14,000 individual voice services to remote areas.

“The HCRC system’s extended outages and lack of availability of parts is an ongoing issue for remote families with no access to mobile phone coverage.”

“Telstra’s commitment to migrate 350 HCRC customers to a NextG Wireless Local Loop service is very much welcomed. There is also an ongoing need for a strategy to deliver alternative voice technologies for the remainder of those customers serviced by the HCRC network, as identified by the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee.”

The RRRCC has called for the government to support and implement all 10 recommendations of the Regional Telecommunications Review, and looks forward to the government’s formal response to the review.

The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition includes the following members:

2019 RRRCC Logos

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docxBush communications coalition welcomes Telstra’s commitment to deliver much needed landline improvements209.68 KB

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pdfBush communications coalition welcomes Telstra’s commitment to deliver much needed landline improvements360.34 KB

/Public Release. View in full here.

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Telstra CEO pledges to tackle regional landline woes

Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn says that the company will take a proactive approach to addressing the impact of aging landline infrastructure on …

Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn says that the company will take a proactive approach to addressing the impact of aging landline infrastructure on regional telecommunications services.

In a blog entry posted on the company’s Exchange site, the CEO said that although Telstra was meeting the standards required of it under its Universal Service Obligation (USO) agreement with the government, “there are still some customers who have to wait longer than they should for a service to be restored”.

Penn said that Telstra was expanding its regional maintenance plan to “further to address the primary sources of regional faults”.

The CEO said that Telstra would undertake the proactive repair of cable joints, which he said is a common cause of faults in regional Australia.

Penn said that Telstra also planned to replace 200 batteries located in exchange and roadside cabinets where mains power failures are more frequent and reduce repair time delays by increasing its stock of pair gain units.

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