Affordability of communications products is an issue that affects all consumers - from young people to families and seniors. At ACCAN's National Conference there will be lively discussions on a range of topics including the extent of the affordability divide, affordability barriers, and an exploration of international initiatives as well as the role of industry, government and consumers in resolving affordability issues.
Since launching in 2013, ACCAN's My Phone Rights app has helped thousands of Australians to better understand their rights as telecommunications consumers. The guides and tips in the app cover a range of topics that are helpful to all telecommunications consumers. My Phone Rights is available now for free on Android and Apple iOS devices.
With the app turning two this year, we thought it was time to revamp the tips and advice to keep up to date with the latest information. After all, the telco industry changes at such a rapid pace.
The app has advice for consumers and also small businesses on how to resolve common phone and internet issues including issues with contracts, bill shock, global roaming and data charges.
A survey commissioned by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) found that real complaint levels are still high despite decreasing escalated complaints reported by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). The survey found that 46 per cent of telco consumers reported having a problem with their phone or internet provider in the last year. This represents more than 8.5 million Australians. The survey was completed by Galaxy Research with 1100 respondents, representative of the Australian population. The 2015 survey repeated the questions of a survey ACCAN commissioned in 2010.
According to the survey, around one third of respondents (38 per cent) who had a problem with their phone or internet service, complained to their provider and were dissatisfied with the response from the telco. However, only nine per cent of these consumers escalated their complaint to the TIO. This suggests that phone and internet providers have not improved the proportion of complaints that are resolved. ACCAN is calling on the telcos to publish their complaint data so the problem areas can be identified.
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has today announced the successful Grants Scheme projects for the 2015 Round. The ACCAN Grants Scheme funds projects which undertake research on telecommunications issues, represent consumers or create educational tools which empower consumers to derive the greatest benefit from telecommunications products and services.
The Grants Scheme is competitive and this year received 66 applications from a range of research, private sector and community organisations.
"This year's applications represented a fascinating blend of emerging technology as well as long-standing consumer challenges," said ACCAN Deputy CEO, Narelle Clark. "We congratulate the successful candidates and look forward to working with them on these tremendous projects."
nbn™ has been tasked with providing broadband to all premises at affordable prices, regardless of the cost to provide these services. This will result in a number of services that will be loss making or non-commercial (i.e. fixed wireless and satellite services). The current arrangement is for nbn™ to fund these services through higher costs for services over other parts of its network. However, the Government wishes for the funding to be transparent and for all network providers to contribute to these services, not just nbn™.
The Bureau of Communications Research (BCR) recently consulted on potential alternative funding arrangements for these non-commercial services. They posed a number of questions about how these services could be funded, to which ACCAN provided feedback. Our submission focused on four areas: