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Hot Issues

Welcome to the latest current affairs that impact communications consumers. 

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Running ostrichIncreasingly providers are advertising and pricing broadband plans based on speed; stating exact speeds that they can provide such as up to ‘12/1Mbps’, ‘25/5Mbps’ or ‘100/40Mbps.’ They are also using terms and price tiers that imply faster speed levels such as ‘high speed internet’, ‘super boost’, ‘lightning fast’, ‘superfast’ or ‘max speed.’

ACCAN is concerned that consumers are negatively affected by the lack of clarity about what these claims mean. The ACCC has raised concerns regarding consumer information about broadband and says these speed claims and terms “might misrepresent the speeds that the retail broadband service can consistently achieve, especially during peak periods”. This is worrying given that a 2016 ACCAN survey found that 58 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement ‘you get the same speed at home as advertised in your plan.’ Furthermore, opinion was split when asked if providers differ in the level of quality services that they offered. When consumers can pay between $10 and $30 extra a month, or up to $360 extra a year, to get a ‘faster’ service it should be clear what they level of service they are getting.

Heterosexual couple watching TVAccurate and comprehensible captions on broadcast television provide a better viewing experience for many people.

Captions are an essential service for people who are Deaf or hearing-impaired. They also assist young children and people learning English, provide additional information for people with cognitive impairments and allow many people who are in noisy environments to know what is being said on TV.

ACCANect logo - smartphone with Wi-Fi symbolThis year our Conference, ACCANect: Equipping Consumers to Stay Connected, will focus on how consumers can navigate the often complex digital world. As part of the National Year of Digital Inclusion, the Conference will aim to empower consumers to get and stay connected to the phone and broadband services they need. The sessions and panels will look at practical tools for consumers to achieve this.

Julie McCrossinWe’re excited to announce that the ACCANect Conference will be emceed by renowned freelance journalist and facilitator, Julie McCrossin. Julie has had a distinguished career as a broadcaster with ABC Radio National, ABC TV and Network Ten. She is well known for her warmth, intelligence and commitment to social justice issues.

Girl holding smartphone with broken screenIf like me you’ve got Teflon-coated hands, then dropping your mobile phone and breaking your screen is a regular occurrence. To avoid expensive repair jobs you might consider taking out insurance. ACCAN’s investigator, Xavier O’Halloran, wades through the legal fine print and uses his abacus to crunch the numbers on three of the major insurance plans.

Conference name tags laid out on registration desk
Planning for our 2016 Conference, ACCANect: Equipping Consumers to Stay Connected, is well underway. We’re curating an exciting program (stay tuned for updates!) which will feature some inspirational and key figures in the telecommunications space. You can now register for the Conference. Remember: if you register before 12 August you can take advantage of early bird rates.

This is a busy time of year for everyone, and before we know it, it will be September and we’ll be welcoming you to our 2016 Annual Conference. While we were workshopping ideas and speakers for this year’s Conference, we got a little nostalgic and wanted to share with you some highlights of our past events.

Four hands holding puzzle pieces that fit togetherACCAN has a broad membership base that represents groups in the community sector, disability sector, small business owners and more.

Our members are invaluable to the work we do as they are often invited to have their say in our submissions and consultations. Not only that, we look to our members to support ACCAN’s work and to let us know of the issues affecting their stakeholders.

Group of people sitting on lounge using smartphones and laptopsIn the lead up to the 2016 Federal Election, the Coalition, Labor Party and Australian Greens have made announcements regarding various communications policies. We’ve summarised these below, for your information.

As we previously reported, both Labor and the Coalition have committed $60 million funding for another round of the Mobile Black Spot Programme.

TIO, Judi JonesWe interviewed the new Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), Judi Jones, for our Winter Magazine to find out more about her past work experience and the future direction of the TIO.

Subcategories

Picture showing map of Australia and voting box exclaiming 'What communications consumers need to know for the Federal Election 2016'

Find resouces on political party policies, election issues and more.