The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has been concerned for some time that a copyright notice scheme under an Industry Code will impact consumer access to the internet through sanctions and increased cost. Any notice scheme introduced must respect consumer protections. ACCAN has been participating in the draft Code development process to ensure these concerns are heard.
Consumers rely on internet access for jobs, education and a range of other activities. Measures which limit access, such as speed throttling or disconnection would directly impact a consumer's ability to engage fully in society. While express sanctions against consumers have been kept out of the draft Code, we remain concerned that the evidence gathered through this Code will enable rights holders to disconnect consumers through court based action.
Today at the Communications Vision 2030 event held in Canberra, ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin, delivered a presentation that outlined the consumer experience of communication services. The presentation explored the current situation and what can be done to improve consumer access to telecommunications services.
The Communications Vision 2030 project was launched in November and is a partnership between the Competitive Carriers' Coalition, Hume Regional Development Australia, the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) and ACCAN. The initiative aims to shape a digital vision and generate a set of goals for Australia to achieve global digital age leadership.
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is disappointed to learn that a number of Australian telcos have yet to make all 1800 number calls free from mobile phones for consumers (see below for list). It's now well past the 1 January, 2015 delivery date proposed by the telco industry to implement this change, with the blessing of the ACMA. Previously ACCAN noted that consumers would hold the industry to its commitments in regard to 1800 numbers.
"Six weeks past the delivery date the number of telcos that have yet to implement this change is disappointing," said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin. "It's unfair for some consumers who are still paying for mobile calls to 1800 numbers which are used by essential services like Centrelink, financial counsellors, and drug, alcohol and mental health services. These organisations are keen to let their clients know they can call their 1800 contact numbers for free."
The ACCAN Grants Scheme opened this morning and is now accepting applications until Tuesday 31st March.
Recently ACCAN attended the Yabun Festival, held on 26 January in Victoria Park, Sydney. Yabun is the largest one day celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Australia. This year it was attended by some 8,500 people coming from many places around Australia.
At the event we were able to share lots of useful information for consumers on topics including: hidden costs in free apps, how to avoid smartphone bill shock and how to choose an internet service provider.