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Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Page: 11742


(Question No. 1124)

Ms Marino asked the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, in writing, on 12 August 2012:

In respect of faults reported to Telstra in landline services provided to the south-west region of Western Australia (as defined by the Shires of Capel, Dardanup, Harvey and Cities of Bunbury and Busselton) during the calendar years (a) 2008, (b) 2009, (c) 2010, (d) 2011, and (e) 2012 (to date), (i) how many were reported, (ii) for what average length of time were faults listed, (iii) what was the average length of time for repairing faults, (iv) how many faults were behind schedule or overdue for repair, and (v) what was the cost of repairs and maintenance.

Mr Albanese: The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

Telstra is a private company and therefore is under no obligation to disclose commercial information to the department about its performance unless it is required to do so by legislation or legislative instrument.

Telstra provided the department with the following response to this question:

"The extensive information sought is not readily available as Telstra does not track the performance of its fixed line network against the large number of municipal shires and individual cities in Australia.

Telstra also considers its performance at such very low levels of disaggregation to be commercially sensitive information, as there is likely to be a variation in performance between the many regions within a state. This is due to the variation in the density of fixed line services (and the subsequent impact on the level of reported faults); the classification of Telstra exchange service areas within a region into urban, rural or remote; and the distances that Telstra technicians must travel to attend individual faults. Telstra also manages its performance on a state/national basis, as the impact of seasonal weather events (and the subsequent increase in fault levels) will require Telstra to temporarily relocate field staff from one state to another in order to manage the increased workload.

In terms of data that is readily available to address Ms Marino's questions, Telstra considers the information on its website regarding Network Reliability Framework (NRF) performance to be the most suitable data on which to base a response. The Shires of Capel, Dardanup and Harvey, and the cities of Bunbury and Busselton, fall within the NRF geographic area of Western Australia South Western Region."

According to Telstra's website, the percentage of Customer Service Guarantee (CSG) services with no faults for the South Western region of Western Australia for May 2012, the latest month for which Telstra provides data, was 98.54. This measure describes the percentage of CSG services that were fault free for this region. The CSG is a regulated performance standard that sets down maximum timeframes for the connection and rectification of fixed line services for residential and small business customers.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) publication, Telecommunications (fixed-line) performance bulletin 2010-11: Data tables, provides NRF performance data on an annual basis for Western Australia South Western Region. According to the ACMA, the annual average percentage of CSG services without a fault for 2007-08 was 98.86, for 2008-09 it was 98.62, for 2009-10 it was 98.50 and for 2010-11 it was 98.79.