CHOICE membership

Telecommunications Customer Service Guarantee


A well written post, but ‘fond memories’ can be selective. I ordered a landline in Southport Qld. in the early 1970’s It was a new house on the last lot on a long established street only a few km from Nerang St and the Coast Highway. I was quoted 2 years. We left a year later with the line yet to be installed. If everyone received the same level of service there would still only be a few odd phones about the country with a much smaller problem to solve. :wink:


If you are being provided with Fixed Wifi NBN it is likely you can keep your copper phone line if you choose. There are only 2 situations the copper will be kept if required, these are Skymuster Satellite and the Fixed Wifi. I think the Sunshine Coast Hinterland is mostly slated for Fixed Wifi, hence you may be able to keep your copper line.

However many providers (Retail Service Providers) are not explaining this choice and are trying to get consumers to accept phone communications over the Wifi (VOIP) rather than having them on two separate connections, so beware what happens when they offer their packages. My mother is with Telstra on Fixed Wifi and because she didn’t know, her phone was removed from copper and put on VOIP…


Yes - we expect the copper line will come as an added cost. It would be no surprise if our ISP failed to mention the option. Hope the NBN delivers a reliable idiot proof VOIP. It’s hard to see how the cost of keeping the copper network up will not climb astronomically until there are too few customers to sway political will and it is shut down anyway.

Our past experiences with VOIP require descriptive language that would not be appropriate. Our ISP reverted to putting us onto the copper directly for all voice connections several years prior. Even now the system usually needs a complex manual intervention every time the power is lost to compensate for some conflict issue between phone and data services. At least with a CSG there was some hope of remedy.

For the more pragmatic out there:
The Sunshine coast region has around 300,000 population in around 130,000 dwellings. For the hinterland with around 50,000 population and discounting the larger 4 or 5 towns such as Nambour, Beerwah etc there are probably less than 10,000 dwellings spread over the remaining small towns and rural areas, although around half of these (5,000 dwellings) are in concentrated small towns such as Landsborough, Beerburrum etc. Not unsurprisingly these smaller communities also host the majority of local business. For them the solution is now NBN fixed wireless.

For those who can get and have current broadband services in the hinterland anecdotally the main issues are connection speed (distance from exchange) although I still get 12Mbps 2.0km out of town! And universally dramatic slowing at peak times. How the NBN is going to fix the lack of a local high bandwidth fibre backbone in their solution remains to be seen. However the existing CSG does not assure speed or bandwidth so it’s demise is of little relevance in this instance.

The NBN fixed wireless is promising better internet to many of these who have no or very slow ADSL1 level service. It’s those without that shout loudest. The CSG is probably not a concern. What you don’t have you don’t know about.

The political reality is of approx 200,000 electors in the whole of the Sunshine Coast region some 5,000 plus dwellings and business with around 10,000 electors will be on the fixed wireless solution from the NBN. So at a really rough guess 5,000 electors will expect to be better off with something of a service compared to next to nothing now. The other 5,000 electors will have a mix of experiences from a little worse off to a little better off. For them the CSG may matter because they at least have a point of reference. Although we have all been promised with the NBN super-fast speeds and should all be very happy regardless of the CSG going the way of the dodo.

I just hope that in future my upgraded Model-T Ford now with new and improved pnumatic tyres will (a) get me to Caloundra reliably and, (b) when I get there I will not be the subject of poor humour for having such an outdated, impractical and slow vehicle. Of course it will not come with RACQ roadside assist due to the unreliability of the outdated technology. So silly me to expect the new and improved broadband service from the NBN will come with a CSG.

If anyone would like to dispute the numbers feel free. They are all inferred from general statistics for the area. Nearly every thing factual relating to the NBN is “Commercial in Confidence”, even though there is no NBN 2 to compete with. It’s all our taxpayer funds they are using. I am only trying to understand what it is that drives the NBN outcomes. Having a choice is not only about understanding issues or outcomes. Although in the NBN example the other choice is to move to the city or go without. It is also about accepting that there are somethings that are very hard to change. Change is possible - however needs a strong and logically derived argument and great communication to get the majority to share the same goals. Numerically Australia is governed on the direct will of less than 40% of the electors. It can’t be that hard - can it?


The reality is that the Sunshine Coast (SSC) and it’s hinterland and similar areas throughout Australia could be easily served by FTTP (Fibre to the Premises other wise known as Fibre to the Home).

Under Rudd’s old plan most of the SSC area if not all of it would have been on FTTP but the MTM NBN (Multi Technology Mix NBN or Malcolm Turnbull’s Mess NBN) looked for the cheapest but now more expensive way to do things. The Wifi Tower has Fibre Optic to it and from there it would not have been at all difficult to send Fibre to every home the tower services.

CSG has many conditions attached to it that almost any provider could have not offered it, however Telstra as part of the regulations the Government places/placed on it has to offer it and it is only for the Voice component of your service not the Internet part. As we have discussed in this topic the CSG needs to be reworked to offer protections for all uses of the NBN and for all Retail Service Providers rather than just a few or one with no “outs” for “added value”.


…back in the days when there was only the PMG
and there was no product identification or marketing,
because they didn’t have to advertise and promote themselves.
They were a Government institution and there was no competition.
Their only customer service was when they smiled and gave you a receipt
after giving them money to pay for your phone bill.

That all changed in 1977, when the PMG split into Australia Post and Telecom.


I am not sure which year one can attribute this to, but it appears to have come full circle.

Auspost serve with a smile at the counter, and I readily acknowledge my local e-parcel postie is a legend for his part of it, but ‘back room’ service has been consistently wound back as evidenced by the time it takes anything to move across town; a decade ago it was a day, then two, now 4!

I won’t touch the telecommunications aspects because the NBN is changing the rules and what was yesterday is being changed. For most people the anecdotal evidence it getting less for more, no choice involved except who you pay for less.


The latest from the minister’s office:


I can hardly await the details. One can get ‘broadband’ and phone from a mobile service. If you use 500 GB a month, at what price?



The ACCC has also announced it looking at this issue from the wholesale side. Which I suspect is where a lot of these issues are originating. Hopefully they can find a way to end the buck passing between NBN and the retailers.


“The Government is taking a ‘belt and braces’ approach to protecting telecommunications accessibility for people in regional Australia,” said Minister for Communications, Senator Mitch Fifield. “The Government is putting new, stronger safeguards in place before making any changes to existing safeguards while the NBN is rolled out.”

Questions -

  1. Then why are people having to sign away their USO rights to receive connectivity to the NBN?
  2. Why only regional Australia. Why not ALL Australia?

“The Government will develop options to implement a USG which ensures all Australian premises have access to retail voice and broadband services delivered on a commercial basis”

This worries me, as ‘on a commercial basis’ means that consumers may be expected to pay the cost, no matter how exorbitant to receive these services. And the Government can get out of providing these services at city parity pricing by saying it is the consumer’s choice not to receive the service, even even if they couldn’t afford the exorbitant cost being charged (on a commercial basis).

  1. Good question. Thing is, much as the government tries to shift blame, the obligation rests with them. Government contracts with (historically) Telstra but, if the contractor doesn’t deliver, then it’s the government that’s failed. I reckon it should not be legal for anyone to demand that rights be signed away before service will be provided.
  2. It’s a Universal obligation. Regional Australia is just where the government has failed most egregiously.

IIRC, the USO was introduced to clam fears about the privatisation of the infrastructure. Advice from industry was to sell off only Telstra’s retail arm. John Howard needed to bundle the infrastructure in the sale of Telstra, to maximise his vote-buying war chest. For mine, it’s time the government bit the bullet:

  • admitted that privatisation of the infrastructure is an abject failure and;
  • re-nationalised it.


Telstra’s take. Make of it what you will. :smirk:


And one from ZDNet:


The National Farmers Federation seems pleased:


Waiting until 2020 to introduce a new Universal Service Guarantee doesn’t help the people who get forced off their copper wire landline for telephone calls between now and 2020.


What happens when someone who has registered their only telephone (a landline) for Priority Assistance etc because they need to be able to make calls in an emergency situation (eg having a condition that can cause anaphylaxis, living alone) - when the dreaded FTTN reaches their area?

Will the Universal Service Guarantee encompass electricity as well as VoIP service - so that the VoIP will work?


Simple answer is No. NBN Co stress in all their blab that everyone should have a charged Mobile handy in case of failure of their NBN.

I also see that Optus is now removing their version of Priority Assistance so I think only Telstra wil have, and is required, to provide it under the USO.

Not very Universal is it…when only one provider is obliged to provide a service no one else is required to…and yet most of them also avoid the CSG with equal alacrity.


is ignoring people who do not have a mobile because they cannot manage a mobile. Can’t manage mobile’s buttons and/or screen and/or charger etc - such as some of my elderly relatives and friends.


As I first raised when creating this topic the old CSG rules are becoming irrelevant with the spread of the NBN. We need a new CSG that is altered to account for the multiple changes the NBN is making to the way we use Telecommunications.

Are older people losing out with these changes, I fervently believe they are. The old phone system had it’s faults and certainly was not 100% percent bulletproof, Floods, fires, cyclones among many others continued to disrupt communications. If, as I have written about many times, stayed with Rudd’s FTTP for the majority of Australia, while still not 100% reliable, it would have been a much more robust system than the MTM NBN that Mr Turnbull and Co have given us. For instance with FTTP and some form of power back up eg the Battery supplied by NBN Co, phones would continue to work in your house for around 4 hours at least in the event of a power cut

The problem is that Australia voted for the Govt we have knowing that they would implement this NBN package we have, so some of the blame rests on the voters shoulders. What is the fix? The only real answer is to go back to FTTP and ditch FTTN, FTTC, FTTB, HFC in most areas of Australia. Of course there will be still some Fixed Wireless and Satellite for some period of time for those where FTTP is not realistically an answer yet (but I do envisage a rollout out to them would eventually be done).

If you want change you first have to change to a Government that realises this need and takes the hard decision to spend the required billions more on remediation of this debacle and we have to let them spend the coin without complaining about the cost. I also don’t mean a Labor Govt per se, I just mean any selection of Federal members who can form a responsible and ethical Federal Governmentt. I know that last part is a very big ask but if we don’t try we can never succeed.


My 81yo mother has an android as her only phone… She’s no expert, but manages to ring us kids all the time.

Father-in-law also has a phone with larger buttons.

If they can use a landline, most mobiles with buttons are the same.