The NZ Telecommunications Forum (TCF) has today published a draft of the new Vulnerable End Users Code for public consultation. The code ensures that telecommunications providers act responsibly when dealing with customers who have an identified vulnerability and depend on a connection to a landline phone.
“Individually, telco providers already prioritise the needs of vulnerable customers they are aware of who rely on their services” says Geoff Thorn, CEO of the TCF. “But we feel this is an important issue, and so we’ve decided to establish an industry-wide set of standards and procedures to protect the needs of those who depend on a fixed line for health or safety purposes.”
Examples of vulnerable end users include customers who rely on access to a fixed line for the use of a monitored medical alarm, and those with certified medical conditions who may need to be able to make calls to emergency or support services. Other consumers identified as dependent on fixed line services include those with protection orders, or those who have a family violence safety alarm.
“It’s important to note the code relies on consumers self-identifying” says Thorn. “Unless you tell your telco provider you have a health or safety issue covered by the code, they’re unable to identify you as vulnerable and prioritise your needs.”
The code recognises that modern fixed-line services such as fibre, and landline phones delivered through a broadband service, don’t function without electricity.Consequently, the code requires telco providers to communicate with vulnerable customers about having contingency plans for communications in place, which can include battery back-up, or access to a charged mobile phone.
The TCF is now seeking public submissions on the code until Friday 14th September 2018. A draft copy of is available here. The finalised code is expected to be in force by December 2018.
For more information, please contact: Geoff Thorn, TCF CEO
Ph: +64 21 937 920 | Email: Geoff.firstname.lastname@example.org