USO tip sheet

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What is the telco Universal Service Obligation (USO)?

It means that you have the right to a standard fixed landline phone service provided by Telstra, regardless of where you live or work.

Why only standard fixed home phone services?

The USO was introduced in the 1990’s when the majority of Australians communicated through landline phone services.

Why Telstra?

Telstra has a contract with the Federal Government which says that the telco must provide standard telephone services and maintain public pay phones. Before NBN, Telstra was the main telco network so it was the only option for delivery of standard telephone services.

What if I have a disability?

The USO also means Telstra must provide alternative forms of communication for people with a disability – such as a teletypewriter (TTY). If you are unsure what communication product is right for you, Accessible Telecoms can help. Visit or call 1800 029 904 to learn more.

What will my standard fixed phone service include?

• Access to local, national and international calls
• 24 hour free access to emergency service numbers (such as 000)
• Standard connection and repair timeframes (known as the Customer Service Guarantee)
• Priority assist (specific requirements for those with a life-threatening medical condition on request)

What technology is used to deliver the service?

The USO is primarily delivered by a traditional landline phone service. If Telstra is unable to connect you to this technology, they may use different technology, such as wireless or satellite.

How do I order a USO service?

You can order a USO service through Telstra. Orders can be placed at your local Telstra store, by calling 13 22 00, or by visiting them online at

How long will it take to get the service after ordering it?

Connection times will vary depending on where you live and if there is a current connection in place. The table below outlines the maximum time frames for connections.


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