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Welcome to the latest current affairs that impact communications consumers. 

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The ACCAN Annual General Meeting was held in Sydney on Thursday, 15 September, 2016. At the meeting the following three candidates were elected to the Board:

  • Sarah Wilson
  • Dean Barton-Smith
  • Nadia Moffatt

Congratulations to returning director, Dean, and a warm welcome to Sarah and Nadia who are joining the ACCAN Board for the first time.

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Snail sliding across a computer keyboardIf your broadband speeds are consistently lower than those advertised by your internet service provider (ISP) or is unreliable at any time during the day, you should contact your provider and clearly state that you want to make a complaint.

Explain how your internet is slow or unreliable. Evidence, such as recorded speed tests (many IPSs offer this on their website, or you can try other online speed tests such as Ookla’s Speedtest) or examples of times when you are unable or have difficulty using the service.

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Laptop with download progress bar on screenSimilar to the ACCC’s consultation on broadband speed claims, regulators in other countries are trying to ensure that ISPs deliver on their broadband speed claims.

In the UK, the regulator is considering forcing broadband and mobile operators to pay automatic compensation to customers when services fail or when they are suffering slow speeds.

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ACCAN is seeking nominations for Directors to fill three (3) vacancies on its Board.

In accordance with the ACCAN Constitution, the 2016-2017 ACCAN Board will consist of nine (9) members . Six (6) positions are continuing Directors from the 2015-2016 Board. Three (3) Directors are retiring from the Board but may be eligible for re-election as stated in the ACCAN Constitution.

In accordance with the ACCAN Constitution Board members are eligible for a three year term.

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With the Federal Election campaign now over, ACCAN congratulates Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield and Senator the Hon Fiona Nash who continue in their roles as Minister for Communications and Minister for Regional Communications respectively for the Turnbull Government. The Federal Member for Greenway, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP and the Federal Member for Throsby – Stephen Jones take up the roles of Shadow Minister for Communications and Shadow Minister for Regional Communications respectively.

We are pleased that during their campaigns both the Coalition and Labor made announcements of an additional $60 million in funding for a third round of the Mobile Black Spots Programme. This is vital as mobile coverage and competition in rural areas continues to be is a key issue for many consumers.

In the lead up to the election, ACCAN called for the parties to focus on five communications consumer priorities and we asked them a series of questions based on these priorities. We covered announcements from the Coalition, Labor and the Australian Greens on NBN policy, digital literacy and accessibility. While we didn’t receive specific answers to our questions, some of these were answered by the announcements from the parties during the campaign.

Woman using 3D printerNew website gives consumers a head start in 3D printing

The number of users connecting to each other on the internet to find, share, and create 3D printed objects has proliferated in the last few years. But what do consumers need to know before printing in 3D?

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ACCAN Conference panelThe full program for the ACCANect Conference is now available online.

Like previous years, the Conference has attracted a high calibre of speakers and panellists including: the new Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, Judi Jones, the new Disability Commissioner, Alastair McEwin, the new Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, as well as consumer representatives such as CHOICE and Consumer Affairs Victoria.

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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”.

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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.

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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.