Five ISPs told join industry scheme, or face fines

The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) has directed five Internet service providers (ISPs) to join the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) scheme within 21 days, or face heavy fines.

Issued under section 102 of the Telecommunications Act 1997, the directions were given to #1 Computer Services, Albury Local Internet, and Darren Worley, Mark Russell and Brad Francis who operate under the business names of 'Ideal Internet', 'Vipernet' and 'Web Express', respectively.

According to ACA, these five ISPs have persistently refused to join the TIO scheme, which provides for independent resolution of complaints in the telecommunications industry. Failure to join the TIO scheme in the specified timeframe will result in court proceedings, and potential fines of up to $50,000 for individuals and $10 million for incorporated bodies.

"The ACA is concerned with the lack of a positive response from all five providers to the formal warnings that were issued and hopes that [Friday's] action will confirm our serious attitude and that the ACA will use its full powers when providers persistently refuse to join the TIO scheme," Tony Shaw, ACA chairman, said.

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