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Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Bill 1998

Part 4 Continued access to untimed local calls

   

103   Simplified outline

                   The following is a simplified outline of this Part:

•      Local calls are to be charged for on an untimed basis.

104   Requirement to provide an untimed local call option

                   If a carriage service provider charges an eligible customer for eligible local calls made using a standard telephone service supplied to the customer, the provider must give the customer an untimed local call option.

Note 1:       Eligible customer is defined by section 110.

Note 2:       Eligible local call is defined by section 106.

Note 3:       Untimed local call option is defined by section 105.

105   Untimed local call option

             (1)  For the purposes of this Part, if a carriage service provider charges an eligible customer for eligible local calls made using a standard telephone service supplied to the customer, the provider gives the customer an untimed local call option if, and only if, the service is supplied to the customer on terms and conditions under which:

                     (a)  the customer may choose, on connection of the service, to have the charges for eligible local calls that are made using the service worked out on an untimed basis; and

                     (b)  if the customer chooses as mentioned in paragraph (a)—the carriage service provider must not work out the charges for such calls in any other way except with the customer’s written consent; and

                     (c)  if the customer:

                              (i)  does not choose as mentioned in paragraph (a); or

                             (ii)  consents to having the charges for such calls worked out otherwise than on an untimed basis;

                            the customer may later give the carriage service provider a written notice to the effect that the customer wishes the charges for such calls to be worked out on an untimed basis; and

                     (d)  if the customer gives the carriage service provider such a notice—the carriage service provider:

                              (i)  must, in respect of the earliest practicable period beginning after it receives the notice, work out the charges for such calls on an untimed basis; and

                             (ii)  must not, in respect of a period after the period referred to in subparagraph (i), work out the charges for such calls in any other way except with the customer’s written consent.

Note 1:       Eligible customer is defined by section 110.

Note 2:       Untimed basis is defined by subsection (2).

             (2)  For the purposes of this section, charges for eligible local calls are worked out on an untimed basis if, and only if, the charges for those calls are worked out by reference to the number of such calls made during a particular period, regardless of how long each call lasted.

106   Eligible local calls

             (1)  For the purposes of the application of this Part to a carriage service provider who charges for a call made using a standard telephone service supplied to an eligible customer in a particular standard zone, being an eligible customer who is a residential/charity customer, if the call:

                     (a)  is made between points in the applicable zone in relation to the provider and in relation to the customer; and

                     (b)  is either:

                              (i)  of a kind that, immediately before 20 September 1996, a general carrier offered to supply, or supplied, on an untimed basis between points in that standard zone; or

                             (ii)  made using a standard telephone service supplied to the customer in fulfilment of the universal service obligation;

the call is an eligible local call unless the call involves the use, by at least one party to the call, of a public mobile telecommunications service, or a satellite service, that is not supplied to that party in fulfilment of the universal service obligation.

Note 1:       Eligible customer is defined by section 110.

Note 2:       Standard zone is defined by section 108.

Note 3:       Applicable zone is defined by section 109.

Note 4:        Untimed basis is defined by subsection (3).

             (2)  For the purposes of the application of this Part to a carriage service provider who charges for a call made using a standard telephone service supplied to an eligible customer in a particular standard zone, being an eligible customer who is not a residential/charity customer, if the call:

                     (a)  is a voice call or, if a voice call is not practical for a particular end-user with a disability, a call that is equivalent to a voice call; and

                     (b)  is made between points in the applicable zone in relation to the provider and in relation to the customer; and

                     (c)  is either:

                              (i)  of a kind that, immediately before 20 September 1996, a general carrier offered to supply, or supplied, on an untimed basis between points in that standard zone; or

                             (ii)  made using a standard telephone service supplied to the customer in fulfilment of the universal service obligation;

the call is an eligible local call unless the call involves the use, by at least one party to the call, of a public mobile telecommunications service, or a satellite service, that is not supplied to that party in fulfilment of the universal service obligation.

Note 1:       Eligible customer is defined by section 110.

Note 2:       Standard zone is defined by section 108.

Note 3:       Applicable zone is defined by section 109.

Note 4:        Untimed basis is defined by subsection (3).

             (3)  For the purposes of this section, calls of a particular kind are supplied on an untimed basis if, and only if, the charges for the calls of that kind are worked out by reference to the number of such calls made during a particular period, regardless of how long each call lasted.

             (4)  In this section:

general carrier means a person who held a general telecommunications licence under the Telecommunications Act 1991 immediately before 20 September 1996.

residential/charity customer means:

                     (a)  a residential customer; or

                     (b)  a customer that is:

                              (i)  a charitable body or organisation; or

                             (ii)  a welfare body or organisation.

satellite service means a carriage service, where customer equipment used in connection with the supply of the service communicates directly with a satellite-based facility.

107   Benefits for customers outside standard zones

             (1)  For the purposes of this section, if a customer of a carriage service provider is in Australia, but is not in a standard zone, the customer is a designated customer .

             (2)  The regulations may formulate a scheme to give benefits to designated customers, where the benefits:

                     (a)  relate to charges for calls made using a standard telephone service supplied to the customer; and

                     (b)  are comparable to the benefits given to eligible customers under section 104 (which deals with the requirement to provide an untimed local call option).

             (3)  For the purposes of subsection (2), a comparison of benefits is to have regard to (among other things), the ability to make calls to essential business and community services on an untimed basis.

             (4)  Regulations made for the purposes of subsection (2) may impose requirements on carriage service providers.

             (5)  A carriage service provider must comply with any applicable requirements imposed by regulations made for the purposes of subsection (2).

             (6)  The Minister must take all reasonable steps to ensure that, at all times after the commencement of this section, regulations are in force for the purposes of subsection (2).

             (7)  For the purposes of this section, charges for particular calls are worked out on an untimed basis if, and only if, the charges for those calls are worked out by reference to the number of such calls made during a particular period, regardless of how long each call lasted.

108   Standard zones

             (1)  For the purposes of this Part, if:

                     (a)  immediately before 1 July 1991, Telecom supplied, or offered to supply, to persons within a particular area within Australia, a carriage service that was, immediately before that date, a standard telephone service (within the meaning of the Telecommunications Act 1991 ); and

                     (b)  under the terms and conditions on which Telecom supplied, or would supply, that service to persons in that area, the charges for calls of a particular kind between points within that area made using the service were, or would be, worked out on an untimed basis;

that area is a standard zone .

Note:           Untimed basis is defined by subsection (2).

             (2)  For the purposes of this section, charges for calls of a particular kind are worked out on an untimed basis if, and only if, the charges for the calls of that kind are worked out by reference to the number of such calls made during a particular period, regardless of how long each call lasted.

             (3)  In this section:

Telecom means the Australian Telecommunications Corporation, as it existed immediately before 1 July 1991.

109   Applicable zones

             (1)  A reference in this Part to the applicable zone in relation to a carriage service provider and in relation to an eligible customer, being a customer in a particular standard zone, is a reference to whichever of the following is applicable:

                     (a)  if:

                              (i)  the provider is the universal service provider for the customer; and

                             (ii)  there is in force a written notice given to the ACA by the provider nominating a specified area as a nominated area; and

                            (iii)  the customer is in the nominated area and chooses to adopt that nominated area as the applicable zone in relation to the provider and in relation to the customer;

                            the nominated area;

                     (b)  if:

                              (i)  the provider is the universal service provider for the customer; and

                             (ii)  paragraph (a) does not apply;

                            the standard zone;

                     (c)  if:

                              (i)  the provider is not the universal service provider for the customer; and

                             (ii)  there is in force a written notice given to the ACA by the provider nominating a specified area as a nominated area; and

                            (iii)  the customer is in the nominated area;

                            the nominated area;

                     (d)  if:

                              (i)  the provider is not the universal service provider for the customer; and

                             (ii)  paragraph (c) does not apply;

                            the standard zone.

             (2)  To avoid doubt, an area nominated under subsection (1) may overlap a standard zone.

             (3)  For the purposes of this section, if:

                     (a)  a customer of a carriage service provider is in a particular area; and

                     (b)  the provider is the universal service provider for that area;

the provider is the universal service provider for the customer.

110   Eligible customer

                   For the purposes of this Part, if a customer of a carriage service provider is in a standard zone, the customer is an eligible customer .

111   Points

                   For the purposes of the application of this Part to a mobile-type carriage service, a point includes a mobile or potentially mobile point.

112   Application of this Part

                   This Part does not apply in relation to a contract for the supply of a standard telephone service if:

                     (a)  the contract was entered into before the commencement of section 231 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 ; and

                     (b)  the contract would not have complied with Part 8 of that Act if the contract had been entered into immediately after the commencement of that section.