01.TPG fined $400,000
TPG Internet has been ordered to pay a $400,000 fine for not giving customers access to the triple zero emergency number.
During the period from 15 March and 21 September 2011, nearly 6000 customers whose accounts could not be topped up were denied access to the triple zero number until their accounts could be debited. During the period 193 calls were made to triple zero from TPG customers' home phones but none were connected.
TPG is classified as a carriage service provider. Under the Telecommunications Act 1999 carriers and carriage service providers are required to give customers access to emergency call services unless it’s not technically feasible to do so.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority took the telco to the Federal Court over the matter. During the case, TPG advised that the problem was a result of a software upgrade error.
The home phone services in question were prepaid phone services. Once customers' initial $20 deposit was reduced to $5, TPG attempted to debit enough money to top it up back to $20. If the amount could not be debited, the phone account became inactive.