Tougher line sought on Telstra’s USG performance

Telstra will have to provide greater detail on whether it is meeting its Universal Service Guarantee (USG) under proposed new licence conditions.

The new rules being considered by the federal government will require Telstra to include more information on the services it delivers under the USG, which updates the long-standing Universal Service Obligation (USO).

Telstra will also be required to report on its performance against key indicators, including service availability, connection timeframes, faults and outages, repair timeframes, appointment timeframes, complaints, and customer contact handling.

The USG requires Telstra to provide all Australian homes and businesses with access to both broadband and voice services, regardless of their location.

In return, the telco receives about $270 million a year through a special industry levy and other government payments.

Regional Communications Minister Bridget McKenzie said she was concerned about community perceptions that services in regional and remote Australia were not being maintained.

“Sometimes, a fixed-line voice service is the only form of communication available to regional Australians,” Senator McKenzie said.

“[These proposed changes mean] more detailed and up-to-date information will be available to the community to check the performance of their local area service online.”

Consultations on the proposed licence conditions have opened, with feedback possible up until 8 November.