The Productivity Commission released in December 2016 its draft inquiry report on the obligation (universal service obligation) that ensures all Australians can access telephone services. While the draft report supports our view that the obligation is outdated and that consumers should have access to broadband services, there are a number of elements which ACCAN raised as concerning in our submission.
ACCAN is concerned that reframing the obligation into an objective will reduce consumers rights to affordable and accessible voice and broadband services. When problems do arise and services are not provided, it is important that there is a mechanism to seek redress. Furthermore, consumers should continue to have access to voice services, without any degradation in the level of service delivered. Until alternative protections and safeguards are established we believe the current obligation cannot be removed. Additionally, broadband services need to be explicitly defined and further analysis on affordability needs to occur.