2012 TCP Code launches on 1 September

It’s official! ACMA announced moments ago that the 2012 Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code will be registered as a binding telco industry code, and will come into force on 1 September 2012.

Time will tell how much difference this code actually makes. But one thing is certain: This is the telco industry’s last chance at self-regulation. If ACMA and ACCC don’t get the results they want from this code, the next stop is direct regulation via an aggressive ACMA Industry Standard.

A brief history

The existing TCP Code has been around since 2007, and it’s fair to say that many telcos have merrily ignored it. Both ACCC and ACMA were dissatisfied with its lack of impact.

In 2010, ACMA released a discussion paper on telco customer service and complaints that developed into the ‘Reconnecting the Customer’ enquiry and report. The report identified key consumer protections that ACMA wanted to see in place.

Communications Alliance responded to the regulators’ concerned by developing an enhanced TCP Code. That draft was submitted to ACMA in later 2011 for registration, but was met with a firm ‘No. Not tough enough.’

Comms Alliance went back to the drawing drafting board and beefed up its new draft code. That version was lodged with ACMA , and considered for approval on 19 April 2012. The outcome: a firm ‘No. Not tough enough.’

Comms Alliance then went into overdrive, trying to satisfy ACMA’s remaining concerns. Some ‘heavy’ concessions were made by the industry body, and by the end of May it was optimistic that the document was in a form that would win ACMA’s heart and mind.

That’s where things stood until today. ACMA has confirmed that its executive meeting last week approved the last Comms Alliance draft, and that it will come into force on 1 September 2012.


About Peter Moon

A telco lawyer with a truckload of experience
This entry was posted in Backgrounders and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.