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Superfast Broadband Access Services (SBAS) are networks that provide broadband that is capable of achieving 25Mbps or greater download speeds. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is inquiring whether there is a case to regulate these networks. Premises served by one network can limit consumers' services and number of providers.

The administrator of the .au domain space, .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA), established a Panel of stakeholders to review the major Australian domain name policies and invited interested stakeholders to submit on in April 2015. This submission is in response to the latest round of consultation on the Draft Recommendations of the Panel.

The ACCC proposes to publish some of the information it collects as part of its regulatory oversight of nbn and Telstra. The information would provide an insight into the wholesale market, such as the number of services active by provider, technology, area and speed.

Mixed experiences from consumers from the migration to NBN have led to the Department of Communication creating a Migration Assurance Plan. The plan sets out the framework for migration from legacy networks to the NBN in the fixed footprint (it does not apply to areas receiving fixed wireless and satellite). During the four stages; serviceability, product availability, end user awareness and management and installation and activation, the plan outlines the expected information sharing and roles and responsibilities for all the parties involved.

The Federal Government (Department of Communications) is conducting a review of the communications regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Many changes have occurred in communications in the last 10 years, and this pace is set to continue. The review is focused on the objectives, functions, structure, governance and resourcing needed for a future communications regulator to remain relevant and fit for purpose.

Infrastructure Australia is tasked with producing a 15 year national Infrastructure Plan. In order to produce this they first set out to conduct an audit report. The Audit identified the key challenges which need to be addressed in the plan. Telecommunications infrastructure was one element examined by the audit.

The first communities which switched to the NBN fixed network experienced a number of issues. One issue was that some consumers were disconnected from their existing network while waiting for an NBN service to be activated, leaving them without services. To resolve this, and prevent its recurrence in the next planned switch over areas, additional time before disconnection of existing connections has been proposed. The ACCC also asked whether the additional time should be applied more generally to other areas or for known 'hard to reach' premises with complications, such as those with alarms.

The Regional Telecommunications Review is the only review that examines horizontal, or geographic, equity in telecommunications services and so is of value to consumers.

The timing of the 2015 review creates its own challenges, as two large infrastructure projects, namely the Mobile Black Spots Programme and the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN), are still in motion. It is difficult to predict what gaps will still exist going forward. In our submission ACCAN has tried to outline issues that it sees are persistent. Furthermore we have made suggestions on how these might be addressed.

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 key aspects of the Standard.

What is the IPND?

The Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) is a database that contains records of all Australian telephone numbers and associated customer details. It is managed by Telstra under the Carrier Licence Conditions, and is an important source of information for emergency and law enforcement purposes.

.au Domain Administration (auDA) invited comment on a public issues paper about the way .au domain names are allocated and used. The paper has been prepared by a Names Policy Panel consisting of nominated members of the Australian Internet community who have expressed interest in helping shape policy for the .au domain space.

nbn™ has been tasked with providing broadband to all premises at affordable prices, regardless of the cost to provide these services. This will result in a number of services that will be loss making or non-commercial (i.e. fixed wireless and satellite services). The current arrangement is for nbn™ to fund these services through higher costs for services over other parts of its network. However, the Government wishes for the funding to be transparent and for all network providers to contribute to these services, not just nbn™.

The Bureau of Communications Research (BCR) recently consulted on potential alternative funding arrangements for these non-commercial services. They posed a number of questions about how these services could be funded, to which ACCAN provided feedback. Our submission focused on four areas:

    • concern over the affordability of services;

    • equity of services between consumers in fixed wireless and satellite areas and those in the fixed footprint;

    • concern that the BCR was not focusing on consumers use of broadband; and

    • queried how commercial services offered over the fixed wireless and satellite network will be treated.