#datadrought Coalition comes out in force in support of maintaining landline services
The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition is concerned reliable home phone services in the bush may be soon put at risk under proposed changes to the Universal Service Obligation (USO).
Members of the Coalition have today appeared at the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the USO in Sydney.
As part of the Inquiry, the Productivity Commission is examining the possibility of changing how voice services are delivered, so that the NBN network is primarily used to deliver voice services. This could affect rural and remote consumers who are using the nbn Sky Muster satellite and have little to no access to mobile services. Effectively this could mean future voice services for rural and remote Australians could be delivered via satellite.
“While we acknowledge the logic in transitioning to more modern infrastructure, this does not escape the fact that in rural and remote areas a majority of users would be serviced via satellite which does not provide the same reliability or performance to what is currently available,” said Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) CEO, Teresa Corbin.
ACCAN voices concerns on communication services
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) will tomorrow appear before the Productivity Commission at a public hearing in Sydney to voice concerns about its Draft Inquiry Report on the Universal Service Obligation (USO).
The USO underpins consumers’ access to phone services, including payphones. While many may have never heard about the USO, it is an important obligation that aims to ensure voice services are available and accessible to all Australians.
“Unfortunately, the USO is stuck in the past and is not relevant for all the services that consumers need these days, including broadband – something which we are thankful the Productivity Commission has recognised,” said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin. “However, the direction that the Commission is advising may put some consumers at risk of a reduced service level, and being isolated from society and the community.”
Phone and internet are essential services which should be available to all consumers. The mechanism to deliver these services needs to be reformed to ensure that it is independently accountable and transparent. Many consumer rights and protections hang off of the USO, so it is vital that the frame work which establishes the baseline services is solid.
A telecommunications guarantee for the future
Broadband is now considered essential to provide access to services and employment opportunities, as well as entertainment and education. This is true for all consumers, no matter whether they live in regional, rural or remote areas or in the cities.
Reliable broadband connections are also pivotal for small businesses and farmers who often rely on them to run their businesses. Internet connections provide opportunities for farmers to use sophisticated agricultural software to monitor yield predictions and more. But when services fail, there are no guarantees that apply to internet services to ensure faults are fixed within certain timeframes. This can result in long outages, meaning lost money and productivity for farmers and small businesses, and frustration for general consumers.Write comment (1 Comment)