TPG blocked emergency calls

Telco TPG has been found guilty of failing to provide access to emergency numbers 000 and 112 on more than 190 occasions in 2011. The company has been fined $400,000 as a result.

For those wondering, 000 is the standard Australian emergency number. Dialling 000 from an older mobile phone or a landline will place a call to emergency services through your telephone provider. Dialling 112 will cause your phone to connect to emergency services using any available telephone network, not just the one with whom your phone is normally connected. This can be helpful if your phone is out of range. You can also dial 112 from a GSM digital mobile phone from any country in the world to be connected to that country’s emergency services. If you have a newer mobile phone the 000 number will be treated in the same way as the 112 number.

TPG, however, failed to allow customers who had not paid bills access to either of these numbers during a period in 2011, an oversight which has cost the company the $400,000 fine. It was also found that the company did not ensure that nearly 6000 lines had access to emergency numbers over that period. The error was discovered when a woman was unable to call for an ambulance from her home line when her husband suffered a heart attack. She called from her mobile phone, but due to poor reception she was unable to relay important details about his condition. Her husband died in hospital some days later.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority found 193 emergency calls from TPG had been barred during the period.

Find out more at The Sydney Morning Herald website

What do you think? Is $400,000 a high enough fine for such negligence? Has it ever occurred to you to check whether you can access emergency services from your home phone? And were you aware of the 112 number?