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Broadband pricing should be monitored to ensure that consumers do not pay more for services under the transition to the National Broadband Network, according to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.

The telecommunications watchdog made the recommendation to the Senate Inquiry into the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Consumer and Competition Safeguards) Bill 2009, in Melbourne today.

Allan Asher, CEO of ACCAN said, “We are concerned to hear industry reports that consumers may be hit with price rises for equivalent broadband services in the transition to the National Broadband Network. We recommend that the Bill include a provision for the ACCC to monitor any price increases to ensure this does not occur.”

ACCAN also called for a clear definition of the long term interests of end users in the proposed legislation.

“The primary objective of telecommunications legislation should be to empower communication between end users, Mr Asher said. “ However without the clear definition of what and who these are, new communications technologies may not be included in consumer protection measures.”

ACCAN also advocated for the safeguarding consumer access to pay telephone services.

“Payphones are often a lifeline service, particularly in remote areas and places with limited mobile coverage. We are recommending payphone companies consult with consumers and the local council to ensure communities are not disadvantaged by the removal of this essential service.”

“Additionally we believe that the Australian Communications and Media Authority should be required to approve any removal of pay telephone services”.

“ACCAN looks forward to engaging with the government in the determining future Universal Service Obligations in the National Broadband Network environment,” Mr Asher said.

View ACCAN’s full submission to the Senate

Download: Media Release.pdf [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 263.25 KB]
Download: Media Release.doc [Word Document - 106.5 KB]