Main content

Alert message

Against the background of the Federal Government's deregulation agenda, the telecommunications industry peak body, Communications Alliance, consulted on amendments to the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code 2012. This version of the Code had just finished being rolled out in September 2014. Since the Code was introduced two years ago Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman complaints have fallen by 28 per cent to the lowest point in six years. Our submission outlines why we don't think it is the right time to be taking away the very consumer protections that have led to reduced complaints.

ACCAN believes access to communications is fundamental to the economic and social wellbeing of consumers. The ACCC sets access prices for fixed line infrastructure that is used to provide phone and internet services to consumers. This submission to the ACCC provides feedback on consumer concerns about the pricing structure.

In mid-2014 ACCAN commissioned disability mystery shopping research to identify the amount of information and the ease of accessing information about telecommunications products and services from the major telcos: Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, iiNet and TPG. Disappointingly, as anecdotal reports had foreshadowed, the results we received were not good.

Mobile Premium Services (MPS) are information and entertainment services that deliver various forms of content to your mobile phone. The MPS Code aims to safeguard consumers from an industry which has a history of poor practice. Since the Code was introduced complaints related to MPS have fallen, as a result industry is proposing that amendments be made to the Code.
 

The International Mobile Roaming Standard requires mobile service providers to warn consumers about usage costs and limits when they use their mobile phones overseas. Since the introduction of the Standard consumer complaints have dramatically reduced. However, industry has proposed to remove the Standard.

This submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications considers the effectiveness of section 313(3) of the Telecommunications Act 1997. This section allows government agencies to request communications providers do things like block websites because they might be breaking the law.

ACCAN has made a submission to the ACCC's Domestic Mobile Terminating Access Service (MTAS) Final Access Determination. ACCAN endorsed the ACCC's preliminary finding that mobile voice and SMS termination services should be declared for five years and are now providing feedback on the pricing model.

In ACCAN's submission to the Government's consultation about online copyright infringement, we argue that consumers should not pay the cost if the government forces ISPs to spend more on trying to stop illegal downloading activities. We also say that if any industry notice scheme is introduced, consumer rights need to be respected and there should never be account terminations.

ACCAN's submission to the Department of Communications Review of the Triple Zero Operator acknowledged that the standard voice-only national service is widely recognised, reliable and easy to use for the majority of Australians and that the current model should remain as the primary national model for requesting emergency services (fire, ambulance, police).

Structural changes to the communications market were one of a package of reforms in the 1993 Hilmer Review, which substantially improved competition in the Australian market. This led to a proliferation of consumer choice from the government owned monopoly, Telecom, to the diverse array of competitors Australian consumers have access to today.

ACCAN has responded to the ACMA's consultation on proposals for deregulatory reform in telecommunications reporting requirements.

Privacy in Australia is back on the agenda again with the Australian Law Reform Commission's (ALRC) recent inquiry into Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era. ACCAN's submission to the inquiry focuses on when consumers have a 'reasonable expectation of privacy'. We support the proposed introduction of a new Australian Privacy Principle (APP) which would give consumers the ability to request the destruction or de-identification of their personal information.