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ACCAN's work informs public debate about consumer issues in the communications landscape.  Welcome to our collection of the latest news and current affairs that impact communications consumers. 

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The Telecommunications Reform Package is due in the Senate this week and the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) is calling for all sides of politics support passage of the legislation.

The two Bills that comprise the Telecommunications Reform Package include important provisions that will support guaranteed access to reliable telecommunications for all Australians, with an emphasis on regional, rural and remote areas.

The provisions will result in changes to carrier separation rules, provide new statutory infrastructure provider obligations on NBN Co, and will establish the Regional Broadband Scheme to support the partial cross-subsidisation of NBN satellite and fixed wireless services by other network providers.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has welcomed news that NDIS participants will be able to purchase Assistive Technology to help them through the COVID-19 crisis and self-isolation.

“Having access to the right phone or assistive technology is vital for people with disability to be able to access important telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ACCAN Director of Inclusion Wayne Hawkins. “Allowing NDIS participants to use their existing plan funding to purchase Assistive Technology is a very welcomed step by the Government.”

Mr Hawkins explained that it was important for consumers to understand what mainstream and Assistive Technology is available and may best suit their individual needs.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has applauded the expansion of Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians. However, the peak body for communications consumers cautioned that the full benefits of telehealth may not be realised if Australians are not online.

“While it is pleasing that the Government has listened to the medical community and made bulk-billed telehealth services available for all Australians, the underlying issue of connectivity remains,” said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin.

A coalition of nearly 30 community sector organisations and advocates has urged the Federal Government to address the affordability of communications services and equipment to support Australians in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety Cyber and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, cross-sector community organisations including Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), CHOICE, The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS), and The Smith Family outlined several recommendations that would enable communities to keep connected, work remotely, and access essential services such as education, government services, and telehealth.

The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) has welcomed NBN Co’s new measures to support better bush comms during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Communications services are a vital utility. As more people work from home and students are asked to study remotely, households will require more data to keep connected. NBN Co’s offer of an additional 45GB of data for nbn Sky Muster customers over the next three months will allow regional consumers greater flexibility to engage with education, telehealth, businesses and government services without worrying about exceeding their data cap.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has urged the Federal Government to prioritise a specific stimulus strategy for telecommunications services to keep Australians connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continuing social distancing and self-isolation efforts have resulted in millions of Australians increasingly relying on their home broadband service. As Australia’s peak body representing telecommunications consumers, ACCAN is calling on the Government to fast-track a proposal for a wholesale broadband concession that would provide financially stressed Australians with cheaper home broadband.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has called on the nation’s telecommunications networks to ensure that no Australian is left offline during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the world is undoubtedly entering uncertain times, it has been widely acknowledged that telecommunications networks will have an increasingly important role in keeping consumers connected. COVID-19 is expected to highlight the now vital role of reliable telecommunications services in the everyday lives of Australians, whether for work, education, health, or social use.

“The fact is that an internet connection is now a basic utility,” said ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin. “If people can’t afford to be online, or aren’t guaranteed a reliable connection, there can be serious consequences.”

Passage of the Telecommunications Reform Package is a key step towards guaranteeing country communities access to reliable communications, according to the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC).

Due before the Senate in March, the Telecommunications Reform Package aims to provide improved access to broadband services across the country with an emphasis on regional, rural and remote areas. This would be made possible through the introduction of two separate Bills – the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer) Bill 2019 and the Telecommunications (Regional Broadband Scheme) Charge Bill 2019.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has welcomed the announcement of additional identity checks as a positive step towards protecting mobile phone users against scammers.

The introduction of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)’s new Telecommunications (Mobile Number Pre-porting Additional Identity Verification) Industry Standard 2020 aims to prevent fraudulent number porting by requiring telcos to apply stronger identity checks before they transfer a mobile phone number to another provider.