Our focus

ACCAN’s purpose is to work for “communications services that are trusted, inclusive and available for all”.  To see how we aim to achieve this, view our Strategic Plan.

In 2021 ACCAN efforts will be focused on the following priority areas, informed by the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on consumers’ use of communications services. At the same time, we will be responsive to emerging issues, and engage with government and industry consultations in areas of significance for telecommunications consumers.

Our policy priorities are developed in close consultation with ACCAN members, and are informed by our knowledge and analysis of the communications market.

Woman wearing PPE talking on phone at train stationThe challenges of 2020 have impacted consumers’ use of communications services profoundly. COVID-19 lockdowns have accelerated reliance on broadband services, as consumers switched online for work, education, delivery of health and other professional services, and staying in touch. The changes will be enduring for the foreseeable future, and longer term.

Technician repairing a mobile base station towerStronger foundations are necessary to support the delivery of essential communications services. Our communities and small businesses are more reliant on telecommunications than ever before, and yet arrangements to support increased reliability have not changed substantially in 20 years.

Man with mobility cane talks on phoneMany Australians with disability continue to be excluded from our increasingly digital society, and there are many barriers to access that must be overcome. National Relay Services (NRS) have limited availability, Australian free to air and subscription television is inaccessible for people who are blind or have vision impairment, and a significant amount of television content is inaccessible for people who rely on captioning; real-time access to emergency services for consumers who are Deaf, Deafblind or have hearing or speech impairment is still not possible. Access to online government services also remains difficult for some people with disability.

Young indigenous people happily using their mobile phonesThe harm for consumers caused by poor customer service, questionable selling practices, unfair treatment of vulnerable consumers, and information asymmetry in the telecommunications market is underestimated

Australian FamilyHome broadband services have become increasingly expensive, and are out of reach for many households facing tight budgets and more financial demands.

ACCAN’s priority is that No Australian is Left Offline – that all households that can benefit from connection to a fast NBN broadband service are able to do so. We will continue to advocate for the delivery of an affordable, concessional, home broadband service for households on limited incomes. Cost savings for government service delivery are significant, and the social and economic benefits of NBN will be maximised with greater take-up of services.

Farmer utilising regional telecommunications infrastructureThe near completion of NBN means a broadband infrastructure upgrade for most Australians, but there remain many that are underserved. Some are still waiting for NBN to become available and others for upgrades, while in remote Indigenous communities last mile infrastructure is badly needed. There is strong demand for increased mobile network coverage in regional areas, as well as on transport corridors and high-risk emergency areas. Technology used to deliver fixed voice services in remote and rural areas is aging and unreliable, and an estimated 235,000 premises are connected to ADSL outside NBN’s fixed footprint with no adequate future plan for service transition if ADSL is withdrawn. 5G networks are rolling out but availability is limited.

Older Australian concerned about using services onlineConsumers want to engage online, but many have deep concerns about the security of their personal information, manipulative practices, and fraud. Others feel disempowered by the lack of transparency surrounding how their personal information is gathered, stored and shared by third parties. Many consumers lack the opportunity and confidence to use the internet and are challenged by technology that could improve their lives.

Person studying dataEach year ACCAN encounters telecommunications issues of emerging importance. 

We work closely with our individual and organisational members, government, regulators and the telecommunications industry to understand and highlight these issues to ensure the needs of Australian consumers are strongly represented.