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Welcome to the latest current affairs that impact communications consumers. 

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Senior man using mobile phoneThe Australian mobile network providers have all announced the switch off of their 2G networks at various times over the next year:

  • Telstra’s 2G network will switch off on 1 December, 2016
  • Optus’ 2G network will switch off on 1 April, 2017
  • Vodafone’s 2G network will switch off on 30 September, 2017

If you are still using a 2G service, you will need to take action before the switch off date for your provider to keep your service. It’s important that you are aware of when your network operator’s switch off is, because after that date you will not be able to make emergency calls on your mobile device unless you are within the coverage area of another carrier that supports 2G.

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Couple sitting on lounge using a phone and laptopMany vital services and equipment use telecommunications infrastructure to work, such as telephone and voice services, internet, disability equipment (tele-typewriters), fax machines, medical alarms, security alarms, EFTPOS machines and emergency elevator phones.

These services and equipment may be affected in the switch over to the National Broadband Network (NBN).

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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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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.