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Large windmill at sunsetRegional, rural and remote Australians will be better protected if recommendations put forward by the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review are adopted, according to Australia’s peak body representing telecommunications consumers, ACCAN.

The report recognises the essential nature of communications in everyday life, and the necessity of improving access to telecommunications infrastructure, consumer protections and digital literacy for regional, rural and remote Australians.

We are pleased to see that many of the recommendations put forward by the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review echo the reforms that our regional members have long been advocating for, including the importance of consumer safeguards.

“It is reassuring to see that the Independent Committee has listened to the voices of country Australia as they’ve spelled out what they need from a modern telco service,” said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin.

“We hope that the Government will implement these recommendations in a timely manner to help protect communications consumers across the regions.”

ACCAN has been a vocal supporter of the need to independently measure the speed performance of fixed-wireless and satellite NBN services to determine where the issues may lie. It is extremely pleasing to see that the report echoes these thoughts, as shown by the recommendation for a similar program for regional fixed-wireless and NBN Sky Muster customers.

The report’s recommended audit of landline phone performances identifies loopholes in the current arrangement which do not serve the interests of consumers.

“There is stark disparity between the experiences of regional consumers when it comes to the performance of their landline phone services and what is promised,” said Ms Corbin. “We hope that this audit will stamp out future instances of regional users being promised services that can’t be delivered.”

ACCAN strongly supports the Review’s proposed package to improve broadband and mobile service in regional Australia.
The recommendation calling for a Regional Connectivity Package to improve broadband and mobile services in regional areas is vitally important. However, Ms Corbin stressed that this needs to be supported by adequate funding.

ACCAN has been pleased to work with members of the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition to represent a strong consumer voice throughout the review process. The Regional Telecommunications Review is an extremely important assessment of the state of communications for Australians outside of major cities.

Widespread consultations were undertaken by the Independent Committee and this is clearly demonstrated in the in-depth report and its fearless recommendations, as tabled by Senator Bridget McKenzie.

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