The Commerce Commission gives notice, under section 239(1)(c) of the Telecommunications Act 2001 (“Act”), that it has published a draft 111 contact code (“Code”) for public consultation.
This notice summarises the draft Code in accordance with section 6(2)(b) of the Act.
The draft Code applies to retail landline services. Landline services are voice services provided over a fixed-line or fixed wireless access technology.
The purpose of the Code is to ensure that vulnerable consumers, or persons on their behalf, have reasonable access to an appropriate means to contact the 111 emergency service in the event of a power failure.
The draft Code is based on an approach which treats a consumer as vulnerable if the consumer:
- is a consumer of a retail landline service
- is at particular risk of requiring the 111 emergency service; and
- does not have a means for contacting the 111 emergency service that can be operated for 12 continuous hours in the event of a power failure.
Key Requirements on Providers
The draft Code sets out the following requirements on providers of retail landline services (“Providers”):
- Providers are required to provide certain information to consumers of retail landline services, such as information on the access technologies that may not work in a power failure and an overview of the draft Code.
- Providers must make available a process for consumers (or someone on their behalf) to apply to be accepted by the provider as a vulnerable consumer. A key feature of this process is that a consumer must be accepted as being at particular risk of requiring the 111 emergency service if the consumer completes the mandated application form and has it certified by a person of standing in the community.
- Providers must supply every vulnerable consumer with an appropriate means for contacting 111, which can be operated for at least 12 hours.
The draft Code also:
- provides that disputes between a consumer and a provider about their rights and obligations under the Code can be referred to the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Scheme;
- prohibits providers from denying or ceasing to provide a retail landline service to a consumer on the basis that the provider knows or suspects the consumer is (or may be) a vulnerable consumer; and
- requires providers to keep records and disclose certain information to the Commission, to help us monitor compliance with the Code.
Copies of the draft Code, and the supporting draft reasons paper, are available on the Commission’s website at: https://comcom.govt.nz/regulated-industries/telecommunications/projects/commission-111-contact-code.
Dated at Wellington this 11th day of March 2020.