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The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications is developing a trial to assess alternative ways of delivering voice (home phone) services in regional, rural and remote (RRR) areas. ACCAN previously commented on how these trials should be designed, run and evaluated. This round of consultation sought comments on the draft Grant Guidelines, Agreement and Application Form.

ACCAN supports the Alternative Voice Services Trials. Our submission makes a number of recommendations to ensure no consumer is worse off by participating in the trials. We also provided feedback on how to make sure the trials are as useful as possible. ACCAN reiterated the need for trialled services to be assessed not just in terms of value for money, but also in terms of quality.

ACCAN offered the following feedback on the draft Guidelines, Agreement and Application:

  • The Guidelines should emphasise the need to prioritise serving consumers in the High Capacity Radio Concentrator (HCRC) footprint. Services delivered via HCRC are in desperate need of upgrades.

  • There should be a requirement that participating providers cannot charge consumers for ‘excess usage’ of the trialled services.

  • There should be a requirement for participating providers to have a clear process for diverting a trial voice service back to the consumer’s primary voice service, in case there is a problem with the trial service and the consumer needs to receive calls.

  • Participating providers should be prepared to routinely gather and share information about trial service performance and customer experience.

  • The trials should run for a full 12 months from when the participating consumer is connected.

  • Smaller providers should be encouraged to participate to allow for as much competition as possible.

 

ACCAN also emphasised the need for trial services to undergo technical evaluation. This will make sure the quality of trial services is properly tested.

Download: docxACCAN Feedback on Alternative Voice Services Trials Grant Opportunity Draft Materials82.82 KB
Download: pdfACCAN Feedback on Alternative Voice Services Trials Grant Opportunity Draft Materials168.56 KB