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Canberra 8 July 2013. People in remote Australia will now have the peace of mind that their handheld satellite phones have access to the Triple Zero emergency call service.

This outcome follows the introduction of new rules by the Australian Communications and Media Authority that came into effect on 1 July 2013.

The rules address the issue of the small number of handheld satellite phone services that previously did not provide Triple Zero access.

‘These regulatory changes mean that all handheld satellite phone users will know that, in the event of a life-threatening or time-critical emergency, they can dial Triple Zero,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. ‘This is particularly important in remote Australia, where satellite phones are commonly used as emergency devices.

‘The ACMA however cautions that access to Triple Zero from handheld satellite phones is only one component of improving public safety. Being well prepared when travelling to remote areas of Australia, and telling someone of your plans, is equally important.’

The new rules address concerns raised in the 2011–12 Regional Telecommunications Review that people might not be able to contact Triple Zero from their satellite phone during emergencies.

The ACMA works closely with government, industry and emergency service organisations, in regulating and monitoring the provision of the Emergency Call Service.

In 2012-13, 8.8 million calls were made to the Emergency Call Service. Telstra (as the Emergency Call Person) continues to perform above the regulatory requirement for emergency call answering, with 99.1 per cent of calls answered within 10 seconds in 2012-13, against a target of 95 per cent.

View further information about the ACMA’s role with the Emergency Call Service and in telecommunications consumer protection.

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