TPG fined $400,000 for 000 failures
The Federal Court of Australia has ordered ISP and telco TPG to pay a $400,000 fine for failing to give almost 6000 of its customers access to the Triple Zero emergency call service - and failing to connect 193 actual calls to the service - in 2011.
The court determined that TPG contravened the Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Determination 2009, which requires telcos to give customers and other end users access to the Triple Zero service.
ACMA (the Australian Communications and Media Authority) took TPG to court over the matter in November 2012, claiming the telco contravened the determination by failing to ensure that its controlled network and/or controlled facilities gave end users of 5979 home telephone services access to the Triple Zero service, and by failing to connect 193 calls made to the service on 100 of those home telephone services.
Justice Bromberg of the Federal Court said, "The lack of immediate access to the emergency call service in the event of an emergency can have very serious consequences. Apart from the increased anxiety and stress involved for those seeking access, TPG’s failure could easily have led to the death of a person who might otherwise have been saved."
"This decision is a reminder for all providers that the obligation to give Triple Zero access is of paramount importance," said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman.
The legal action followed an ACMA investigation into a complaint regarding a failure to connect a call to the Triple Zero service on a TPG home phone service.
"During the course of the investigation, TPG Internet advised that as a result of an error in a software upgrade to its systems, during the period of 15 March 2011 to 21 September 2011, the end users of 5979 home telephone services, whose customers had failed to maintain an appropriate credit balance, did not have access to the Triple Zero emergency call service until the credit balance was restored," a statement from ACMA said.
According to TPG's telephone records, 193 calls were made to Triple Zero on 100 of those telephone services during that period, and none of the calls were connected.
"TPG Internet became aware of the error in its system upgrade on 20 September 2011 when it was advised that a customer was unable to access the Triple Zero emergency call service. The correction was progressively rolled out on the same day," ACMA said.
According to ACMA, TPG admitted it had contravened one of the determination's provisions by "failing to ensure that its controlled networks and/or controlled facilities gave the end users of the 5979 home telephone services access to the Triple Zero emergency call service".
However, ACMA said that TPG did not admit to contravening another provision of the determination, one that applies when a provider 'supplies' a standard telephone service on which a call is made to Triple Zero.
"TPG Internet argued that the provision had no application in relation to the 193 calls made to Triple Zero on the 100 home telephone services because it was not supplying standard telephone services to the customers of those home telephone services at the times the calls were made," ACMA said.
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