The summary below outlines ACCAN's activities from 1 December 2015 to 29 February 2016.
ACCAN submitted to 10 consultations during the period. These included consultations with nbn, the government and industry on issues including privacy, copyright and the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code. A significant amount of work focused on the team’s development of three policy positions on consumer safeguards, affordability and independent broadband performance monitoring, all of which were presented at our Meet the People Forum in Canberra in late February. The policy team had further impacts in a range of areas including the Government’s response to the Regional Telecommunications Review, mobile data billing and the adoption of international standards for accessible ICT government procurement.
The substantial impact of the work of the policy team was demonstrated by the Government’s response to the Regional Telecommunications Review, which continued to open up the pathway to reform of outdated consumer protections and universal service arrangements. Additionally, our influence on industry practice was shown when amaysim changed mobile data billing units from megabytes to kilobytes after being briefed on ACCAN’s Megacharge research; the Government’s middle ground approach to reforming the International Mobile Roaming Standard; holding Telstra to its Customer Service Guarantee obligations; and our work with Standards Australia with the support of the Department of Finance, on the local adoption of international standards for accessible ICT government procurement.
All Grants Scheme projects are tracking well against the set milestones. The Affordable Access and “Can I download a car?” projects have both completed reviews and will soon be publishing consumer materials on the web. The final report for the Improving the Communication of Privacy Information to Consumers project has been submitted and is now being prepared for publication and launch in April. The ACCAN research projects Megacharge, Broadband Performance and Home, Tweet Home were all completed during the quarter. Megacharge is being prepared for release in the next quarter, while the other two projects have been published on the ACCAN website.
During the quarter ACCAN published 14 website articles, a new tip sheet and launched the Top tips for phones and internet consumer information pack. The website articles covered a range of topics including accessibility, global roaming, Telstra’s mobile outage in February and how small businesses can prepare for outages. A highlight of the quarter was the launch of the ACCAN consumer information pack by the Minister for Communications at an ACCAN hosted event at Parliament House. The pack consists of five brochures with tips on mobile data, understanding broadband performance and choosing an nbn plan. ACCAN’s social media presence on Facebook and Twitter continued to grow throughout the quarter. The summer edition of the ACCAN magazine themed Communications Availability in Australia was published and distributed. Articles covered the nbn satellite launch and the roll out of the Mobile Black Spot Programme.
ACCAN participated in regular meetings with key stakeholders in the December – February quarter. In January the ACCAN Chairperson and CEO met with the new Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifiield. Throughout the reporting period we engaged frequently with ACCAN member organisations including Vision Australia, Deaf Australia and Blind Citizens Australia. ACCAN also held a consultation with members to develop our USO policy approach. Several meetings were held with key stakeholders within Telstra and at the ABC. ACCAN staff members represented consumers on committees and government and regulatory boards including the Standards Australia Accessible ICT Forum, the ACCC Consumer Consultative Committee and the Communications Alliance TCP Code Chapter 9 Review. We also undertook key outreach activities such as the information booth at the Yabun Festival in Sydney.
Altogether ACCAN achieved 118 media hits across radio, print and online publications for the December – February quarter. Many issues including small business plans, nbn satellite and mobile roaming were includedin the quarter’s ACCAN media coverage. Six media releases were issued covering diverse topics like fees for directory assistance, revisions to the TCP Code and broadband performance monitoring. Over the quarter ACCAN responded to 11 media enquiries on global roaming, bill shock, paper bill fees and more. This resulted in media coverage in 48 individual radio, print and online publications.
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