Sydney ISP hits back at regulators

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Sydney ISP hits back at regulators
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Sydney-based ISP and telecommunications provider SoleNet has slammed its treatment at the hands of both the industry watchdog and the Telcommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) this week announced that SoleNet had breached the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code. SoleNet was given a direction to comply for improperly transferring customers from another company, Sure Telecom, which is in liquidation.

"The ACMA began its investigation following complaints to the TIO from (former) Sure Telecom customers who had begun to receive unexpected invoices from a company called SoleNet," stated the ACMA.

The questionable transfers occurred in September last year when Sure Telecom went out of business. The sole director of Sure Telecom is also a director of SoleNet, according to ACMA.

"TCP Code requires that either the losing provider [Sure Telecom] advise customers of the change of provider, or the gaining provider [SoleNet] seek the consent of each customer before the transfer occurred," said the ACMA announcement.

In response, SoleNet hit back at ACMA and the TIO, saying the findings were "unsubstantiated".

"No consumer has been affected by the actions of SoleNet, financially or otherwise," said the Sydney telco provider in a statement.

"It must be noted that this investigation was conducted over a period of nine months to come to an unsubstantiated conclusion that SoleNet breached clauses under chapter 7 of the TCP Code for a total number of six consumers."

SoleNet and its related companies have had a history of ACMA and TIO investigations.

Sure Telecom itself was handed a direction to comply by ACMA in October for improper transfer of customers to SoleNet, with the authority's chairman Chris Chapman labelling the reseller's behaviour as "completely unacceptable".

In July last year, Telco Service Holdings – another provider with the same director as SoleNet and Sure Telecom – copped a formal warning for violating Do Not Call register rules. SoleNet this week claimed it was "later found" that "we were within our rights to call our customer regarding account matters".

ACMA also handed out warnings to Telco Service Holdings in September 2012 for a privacy breach and in April 2013 for a failure to publish a compliant critical information summary. April 2013 saw the company receive a direction to comply for failing to meet reporting requirements under the TCP Code.

Next: SoleNet accuses Ombudsman of wasting resellers' money

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