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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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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Our ongoing investment in regional and rural Australia

Over the last three years, Telstra has invested $2.2 billion in our regional mobile network. We have also built more than 550 new mobile base stations …

Regional Telecommunications Independent Review

Last year Australian’s provided their views, thoughts and comments to the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (RTIRC) on telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia.

The committee’s subsequent report, released late last year, covered broad areas about communications in regional and rural Australia, including maximising the economic benefits of connectivity, improving consumer protections, and increasing social benefits through digital inclusion and digital literacy.

Telstra has been a part, and a partner of, regional Australia, throughout our one hundred plus year history. We continue to be involved through our network maintenance, expansion and sustainability programs. I am proud of the work we do in providing connectivity and services to many areas of Australia where others do not.

The RTIRC made a number of recommendations on improving fault repair times, continuing expansion and availability of mobile services and improving digital literacy, particularly amongst indigenous communities – all things which Telstra has been leading on and investing in to improve outcomes for customers.

Telecommunications and connectivity today is often regarded as something of a fundamental human right, and nowhere is connectivity more important than in regional and remote areas.

It is more than just being able to stay in touch or call for help when you need it – it connects you to the world; to information and services; entertainment and experiences; and, if you are business or a primary producer, new markets and future markets and opportunities.

What is important – and what in many ways sets Telstra apart from our competitors – is that we will ensure regional and rural Australia is part of this future.

We look forward to continuing to work closely with Government to continually improve our services and meeting the challenges highlighted in the RTIRC report.

Telstra’s program of work will specifically include:

  • Repairing and replacement of around 1,000 cable joints (and where necessary the cable itself) on the worst performing cables.
  • Migration of around 350 customers off the ageing HCRC network onto NextG Wireless Local Loop (NGWL) telephone services.
  • Around 200 battery replacements in exchange and roadside cabinets where mains power failures are more frequent.
  • Increase stocks of pair gain units (approximately 800) – to reduce repair time delays caused by having to wait for parts.

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