The telephone is one of the main ways Australians stay in touch. Our role is to advise the Australian Government about how all Australians can have reasonable access to a standard, reliable telephone service.

The telephone is one of the main ways Australians stay in touch with friends, family and the people they work with.

Our role is to advise the Australian Government about how all Australians can have reasonable access to a standard, reliable telephone service. We are involved in managing coverage and generally improving phone services for all Australians. We also manage consultations with industry, consumer groups, and other government agencies.

We have developed consumer safeguards so phone companies supply reliable phone services. We also have rules to protect the needs of people with disabilities and people with life-threatening medical conditions.

If you believe a phone company has not met its legal obligations, you can:

  1. Contact the phone company first and try to resolve your problem with them. If you aren't satisfied, ask to have the complaint escalated—this means a more senior person will look at it.
  2. If you still aren't satisfied, contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (the TIO) for a free and independent dispute resolution service.

The ACMA can also investigate breaches of the consumer safeguards, enforce regulatory requirements and issue remedial directions.

Productivity Commission Inquiry into the Universal Service Obligation

The Government released the terms of reference for a Productivity Commission inquiry into the Universal Service Obligation (USO) in an evolving telecommunications market on 28 April 2016.

The USO is a consumer safeguard that provides all Australians with reasonable access to a standard telephone service and payphones regardless of where they live or work. With rapid advances in technology and a changing market driven by consumer take up of data services and the rollout of the National Broadband Network, demand for services provided under the current USO arrangements has declined. The inquiry will examine the role and relevance of the USO in the modern communications market.

The Productivity Commission is conducting the inquiry and is due to report to Government within 12 months.