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ACA report shows improved telecommunications services.



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ACA report shows improved telecommunications services The Australian Communications Authority's (ACA) report covering the performance of the telecommunications industry during the reporting period 1999-2000, was tabled in Parliament today by the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston.

'The report confirms that as a result of improvements in telecommunications services in 1999-2000, substantial benefits-estimated between $3.2 billion and $5.1 billion-have been passed onto residential and business consumers,' Senator Alston said.

'These benefits include cheaper prices, improved quality of service, and a range of new services, and represents an increase of over 25 per cent on the benefits delivered in 1998-99.'

'Improvements in the reliability of service, and the timeliness of new service connections and fault repair, were noted in the ACA's report,' Senator Alston said.

'There has been a considerable reduction in the number of reported faults, and compliance with the Customer Service Guarantee (CSG) timeframes has improved, despite a substantial increase in service connections.'

The report shows ongoing strong growth of the telecommunications industry in response to consumer demands, with a 50 per cent increase in the number of telecommunications carriers operating in the market during 1999-2000. There was also a 21 per cent increase in the number of mobile services during the year, and significant growth in the geographic penetration of Internet services.

The report says that 1999-2000 was a particularly significant year in the

development of mobile telephone services in Australia, with the roll out of a number of new terrestrial and satellite-based digital mobile networks.

'Australia now has more mobile operators than almost all other countries, leading to enhanced competition and increased consumer benefits,' Senator Alston said.

'Mobile coverage now extends to around 97 per cent of the Australian population, and the report shows increasing take-up and improvements in network performance.

'Calls to Telstra's directory assistance service and fault report number are being answered more quickly, and directory assistance performance is the best for three years. At the same time, the report shows a significant improvement in Telstra's payphone performance.'

Media contact: Sasha Grebe, Senator Alston's office 02 6277 7480 or 0409 445 246 Website: www.richardalston.dcita.gov.au 158/2000 5 December 2000

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