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ACCAN's work informs public debate about consumer issues in the communications landscape.  Welcome to our collection of the latest news and current affairs that impact communications consumers. 

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Today at the Communications Vision 2030 event held in Canberra, ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin, delivered a presentation that outlined the consumer experience of communication services. The presentation explored the current situation and what can be done to improve consumer access to telecommunications services.

The Communications Vision 2030 project was launched in November and is a partnership between the Competitive Carriers' Coalition, Hume Regional Development Australia, the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) and ACCAN. The initiative aims to shape a digital vision and generate a set of goals for Australia to achieve global digital age leadership.

Note: the list of providers still charging for calls to 1800 numbers in this release is now out of date. See this tip sheet for up to date information on which providers still charge for 1800 calls from mobile phones.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is disappointed to learn that a number of Australian telcos have yet to make all 1800 number calls free from mobile phones for consumers (see below for list). It's now well past the 1 January, 2015 delivery date proposed by the telco industry to implement this change, with the blessing of the ACMA. Previously ACCAN noted that consumers would hold the industry to its commitments in regard to 1800 numbers.

"Six weeks past the delivery date the number of telcos that have yet to implement this change is disappointing," said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin. "It's unfair for some consumers who are still paying for mobile calls to 1800 numbers which are used by essential services like Centrelink, financial counsellors, and drug, alcohol and mental health services. These organisations are keen to let their clients know they can call their 1800 contact numbers for free."

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the peak body for communications consumers in Australia, has opposed costs being worn by consumers should a data retention bill be passed by Parliament.

In a submission on the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, ACCAN recognised that in many cases access to communications data by criminal law-enforcement agencies is legitimate and necessary. However, robust and independent oversight mechanisms are crucial to ensure the privacy of Australian citizens is not compromised unduly.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action network (ACCAN), the peak body for communications consumers in Australia, congratulates the Federal Government on its inclusion of 'accessibility' in the current Request For Tender (RFT) of ICT Hardware and other Services.

Acknowledging 'desirability' of products and services to meet international best practice standards of accessibility will help ensure that digital information and services provided by government agencies will be accessible to Australians with disability.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the peak body representing communications consumers in Australia, has launched its Community Consultation Guide, which is designed to help communities address issues with mobile coverage in their areas.

Mobile coverage is a key issue for consumers, particularly those in regional, rural and remote Australia. Achieving improvements in mobile coverage is a priority focus of ACCAN's work. Earlier this month, we welcomed the release of the guidelines for the Federal Government's Mobile Black Spot Programme, but know that even with the improvements the Programme will deliver, demand for improved network coverage will far outstrip supply.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the peak body for communications consumers in Australia, has launched an online Hardship Portal – a set of resources to assist people through tough times.

The Portal is designed for financial counsellors as well as consumers experiencing financial hardship. It provides links to the hardship policies of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone and outlines how to get help and the different options available.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the peak body representing communications consumers in Australia, welcomes Telstra's announcement of real time mobile data usage alerts as a win for consumers. ACCAN has been calling on the telcos to implement real time alerts for mobile data usage for a number of years.

Telstra is the first Australian telco to offer these alerts that notify consumers via text message within seconds when they have used 50, 85 and 100 per cent of their mobile data allowance.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has welcomed the Federal Government's move to make registration on the Do Not Call Register indefinite as a part of its deregulation agenda. This is a win for consumers who will no longer have to worry about reregistering their phone numbers on the Do Not Call Register every eight years.

"With approximately 9 million registered numbers and on average 1 million added each year, ACCAN supports the move to allow for indefinite registration," said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin. "The preference of the majority of Australians to not be contacted by telemarketers is evident in the high number of registrations."

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) welcomes Telstra's initiative to make mobile phone calls to 1800 numbers free of charge for its customers three months before the ACMA proposed deadline of 1 January 2015. The telco announced the change in a blog post on the Telstra Exchange blog.

ACCAN has previously called for this change and is glad to see Telstra implementing it well before the deadline set by the ACMA.