Response from Minister of Comms.
Mon, 10 Mar 1997 11:39:57 +1100 (EST)
last week I received a letter from the office of
Minister of the Dept. of Communications and the Arts.
This was in response to my letters (email actually) of protest
over the Telstra plan to implement timed data calls to ISPs just
Here's a transcript of the letter for all of you to peruse, so make
any comments you see fit.
I think they have left some nice little loopholes to allow the
breaking of promises once again. It looks like a bunch of
rhetoric to me, anyway...
BTW, I wonder what they thought of my signature?
Dear Ms Polanskis,
Thank you for your e-mail of 12 February 1997 to the Minister of Communications
and the Arts, Senator the Honourable Richard Alston, about untimed local calls.
The Minister has asked me to reply on his behalf. I apologise for the delay in responding.
Access to untimed local calls is a key element of the Commonwealth Government's
Under the _Telecommunications Act 1991_, all customers currently have a
legislated right to untimed local calls made using the standard
telephone service. This right was extended to business customers in
December 1996 through amendments to the Act made through the
_Telstra (Dilution of Public Ownership) Act 1996_.
These rights have been retained and significantly enhanced in legislation
introduced into the Parliament in December 1996 to regulate telecommunications
from 1 July 1997.
Because it could be argued that the provisions in the current Act only apply to
calls made using a telephone handset, in other words, voice calls, the new
legislation makes it clear that a residential customer's right to untimed local calls
will apply to both voice and non voice calls made using the standard telephone
service. Non-voice calls include, for example, calls made to send faxes or
email, or to connect to an Internet service provider. The Government believes
this approach will facilitate community access to, and use of, data services
like the Internet.
However, nothing in the new legislation will prevent carriers and other service providers from offering business and residential customers an option of
timed local calls, and nothing will stop them from charging business customers
for non-voice calls on an untimed basis.
It should also be noted that Telstra's charges for local and STD calls are, and will continue to be, subject to price controls determined by the Government.
Thank you for bringing your concerns to the Minister's attention.
Regulatory Policy Branch
Telecommunications Industry Division
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Rachel Polanskis Kingswood, Greater Western Sydney, Australia
Witty comment revoked due to funding cuts