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The summary below outlines ACCAN's activities from 1 March – 31 May 2018.

The last quarter has continued to be extremely active in the telecommunications sector, and ACCAN has been engaging with many significant issues directly affecting communications consumers. The ACCAN policy team has been actively consulting with members and developing our responses to the ACMA’s consultations on new rules for NBN services, continued our engagement with the TCP Code review via Communications Alliance’s Working Committee, and participated in ACCC, Department of Communications and Parliamentary consultations and inquiries. It is pleasing that we have continued to achieve significant impact through our representation of consumer interests.

The policy team has consulted with ACCAN members and more broadly on consumer policy positions in 14 submissions during the quarter, as well as engaged in numerous meetings and briefings with industry and government stakeholders in the process. The integrity of our work is supported by commissioned research and a wide range of other evidence, to ensure our representation of consumer interests is sound and accurate. An intensive focus of our work this quarter has been the ACMA consultation on new rules in the NBN transition, the ACCC Wholesale Service Standards Inquiry, and the Joint Parliamentary Committee on NBN inquiry into the NBN rollout in rural and regional areas.

Six of the nine grants projects have commenced. The ACCAN Grants team has met with the remaining three for their initial meetings and all report that some early work has begun. Commencement payments have been made, as per contracts. The final two research projects for 2017/18 are now complete, with public launches planned for June (Can You Hear Me?) and July (Rental Connect).

The ACCAN Grants team has been assisting a working group of the ACCAN Board in planning for 2019 – 2022. The working group has identified three key aims for the Independent Grants Program, and is seeking to implement gradual change in how the Scheme is run, to better meet these goals.

ACCAN staff participated in more than 28 different outreach, consumer engagement events and member consultation discussions. The ACCAN policy team has continued to work closely with members and consumer groups to ensure our policy work is representative. ACCAN has represented consumers at 16 committee meetings. ACCAN engaged with government and regulatory bodies on 20 different occasions and industry on 24.

During this period ACCAN also held consultation about our policy priorities and future research at four Advisory Forums in Sydney.

From 1 March – 31 May, 2018, ACCAN published eight news stories. ‘ACCC’s first NBN speed test results’ summarised the ACCC’s results to make broadband speeds more transparent. This is important, because it helps consumers understand how services are actually performing and gives them the tools they need to choose services best suited to their needs. However, the results from the ACCC’s program show that around five per cent of monitored connections are delivering fewer than 50 per cent of the advertised speed. ACCAN published Cambridge Analytica and Facebook: The Aftermath outlining the data harvesting scandal and tips on minimising exposure on social media platforms including a link to Facebook’s guide to editing privacy settings for apps and games.

ACCAN staff participated in more than different outreach, consumer engagement events and member consultation discussions. The ACCAN policy team has continued to work closely with members and consumer groups to ensure our policy work is representative. During this period ACCAN also held consultation about our policy priorities and future research at four Advisory Forums in Sydney. ACCAN total membership is 223. Organisational Membership is now at 113 organisations and 110 individuals. This reflects a slight increase.

ACCAN continues working with nbn Co to build a consumer education partnership project but this is yet to be finalised and approved by the Board. We are pleased that we have just completed another successful Google Internship Partnership with a report on Biometrics and Data about to be published. Finally ACCAN also was awarded an NDIA Grant under its Information Linkage and Capacity Building Grant program to establish and run a National Information and Referral Service about accessible telecommunications services for people with Disabilities. ACCAN is partnering with one of our members IDEAS NSW who will delvier the call centre and website aspects of the project. The funding is for 2 years.

During the period ACCAN CEO attended ISO Consumer Policy Committee in Indonesia as head of the Standards Australia delegation. Additionally ACCAN Director of Policy and our Digital Assets Manager were invited by Google to attend their Consumer Protection Summit in San Francisco.

Between 1 March 2018 and 31 May 2018, ACCAN generated 126 media mentions across national print, online, TV and radio. This is an average of 42 items per month. The majority of ACCAN’s coverage was in online articles. Print articles came second, followed by radio and several TV appearances. Major issues were about reliability and outages, scams, affordability, NBN transition, TIO complaint increases and the Federal Budget.

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