Rules for telco services take effect today

National 3 minutes, 40 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE rules that the Authority for Info-communications Technology and Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) drafted late last year to ensure that telecommunications companies deliver quality service take effect today.

AITI in a press release said that it is introducing the Code of Practice and Standards of Performance Relating to Quality of Services for the Telecommunications Sector with effect on March 1.

The code requires licenced telcos to comply with a set of standardised performance parameters under a quality of service framework.

“The code combines relevant international technical standards, proven best practices and the actual experiences gathered at the industry-level during the past two years to deliver a platform which should result in an improvement in subscriber experience,” AITI said in the statement.

AITI said it encourages consumers to familiarise themselves with the provisions of the code so they can assert their rights to their respective service providers.

Among others, the code requires telcos to disclose essential information to ensure consumers can make informed decisions and safeguard their interests.

“For example, availability of clear and complete information about different subscriptions offers makes it easier for customers to decide which plan to subscriber to,” AITI said.

“Standardisation of consumer-specific processes and timelines for activities such as installation, fault-restoration and consumer complaints also helps by making expected turnarounds for these activities clear to both the customer and service provider,” AITI added. The code also mandates the industry “self-optimise” resources so that services under the same networks may be tailored to provide different kinds of services for the use of multiple sets of customers. The code also prescribes baselines for improvement of service-coverage.

“Service providers are expected to ensure service reliability and quickly inform their customers of service outages – scheduled or un-scheduled,” AITI said.

AITI said scheduled outages should be made known at least one week in advance, whereas un-scheduled outages should be disclosed the same day.

The availability of such information allows customers to adjust their work schedules or seek alternative or backup solutions to minimise the impact of service outages, AITI said.

The code also sets mandatory performance parameters for different telecommunications networks and services.

“It requires licensees to optimise their networks and services delivery to meet customer expectations round the clock.”

The licensees must also share any technical limitations with customers under Fair Usage Policy, AITI said.

In turn, customers are required to use the services in a fair manner for legitimate and lawful purposes only.

The code allows all customers with specific requirements to demand tailored solutions in the form of customised service-level agreements.

“Service providers may modify the mandatory performance parameters for voice, broadband, messaging and leased line services to meet the customer’s requirements and with the customer’s consent. Service providers can choose the most appropriate technology, resources and manner to serve the consumers.”

The code also introduces specific practices to meet public health and safety requirements. For example, annual self-check by service provider and allowing random audit by AITI is required to avoid any excessive EMF (electromagnetic force) radiations from telecommunication infrastructure and equipment.

The code encourages customers to be better-informed through easy availability of information-tools to conduct basic quality check in order to secure actual delivery of the promises made in the subscription agreement.

“For example, broadband subscribers may raise valid complaints in case the speed-test does not provide expected results or the data consumption charges are inaccurate. Customers can also relay actual observations to the service providers so that the service provider has meaningful information while attending to the complaint within the mandated two days initial response period,” AITI said.

“If the customer is still not satisfied with the final resolution provided by the service provider, he may escalate the concerns to the AITI in writing,” AITI added.

To ensure compliance, the code provides for the regular assessment by the service providers through self-reporting, while AITI will continue to carry out certain audit exercises and sample-checks to benchmark quality in an appropriate manner.

AITI said that financial penalty may be imposed against non-disclosure, performance found below qualifying benchmark, and serious breach of the code.

“As stipulated under Telekom Order 2001, the financial penalty may reach up to $1 million per incident or for each breach of code and the licence may also be suspended or terminated,” AITI said.

An online copy of the code is available for public use on AITI’s website for public reference.

The Brunei Times