Research Publications

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Telecommunications and Deafblind Australians provides the results of a survey of 71 respondents experiencing deafblindness and is the first research of its kind in Australia to focus specifically on telecommunications access and usage. The research, conducted by Able Australia and supported by a grant from ACCAN, calls for better support for deafblind Australians to access the customised telecommunications solutions that are vital to their day-to-day lives.

Research by Council of the Ageing (WA) has found that very few senior women are going online due to a lack of skills, anxiety about technology, cybercrime fears and problems with service providers. A research-based qualitative study supported by a grant from ACCAN, Where do I Start? Female Seniors and the Internet documents the experiences of 50 women in Western Australian, some who had used the internet before and some who had not.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and Media Access Australia (MAA) commissioned the Australia Institute to research the level of the Australian community’s awareness and use of closed captions on TV.

Research report on caption awareness [Adobe PDF - 117 KB]

Research report on caption awareness [Word - 99 KB]



The tragic events in Queensland have demonstrated many of the strengths and unfortunately some of the weaknesses of Australia’s emergency services and warnings systems. This report explores one important dimension of our emergency management framework, namely access to emergency services and emergency information by people who have a disability, particularly those who are Deaf or have a speech or hearing impairment.

The Footscray Legal Community Centre (FCLC) together with ACCAN has released a report entitiled Taking Advantage of Disadvantage: Case studies of refugee and new migrant experiences in the communications market, finding that in many cases telcos are taking advantage of this already disadvantaged and highly vulnerable group.

Fair Go: Complaint Resolution for Digital Australia offers insights into challenges faced at a time of rapid changes to the digital environment. The Occasional Paper, written by John T.D. Wood, was commissioned by ACCAN in order to broaden and stimulate debate regarding external complaints resolution schemes.

From workshops with members of the Deaf community, consultation with experts, and literature research, the WA Deaf Society, supported by a grant from ACCAN, created accessible videos showing people how to avoid romance scams, lottery scams, credit card scams, and other scams on the Internet and produced a short report. 

New research commissioned by ACCAN that has found only 7% of people who are dissatisfied with their way their provider has handled a problem or complaint take it to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

The Universal Service Obligation (USO), which guarantees every premises access to a voice service, is outdated. Ensuring that the obligation is updated and that data and voice services are available to all is a key area of work for ACCAN.

Following our event in February, Rethinking the USO, and the findings of the Regional Telecommunications Review 2015, there was a need for further examination of options for the USO that delivers better for consumers. As such, ACCAN contracted John de Ridder, telecommunication economist, to prepare an Occasional Paper for ACCAN on the future of the USO to feed into our work and provide new perspectives.

Examining fixed phone and broadband products

ACCAN has commissioned a research project with Market Clarity to determine the telecommunications needs and wants of small business consumers and whether these are being met by the telcos.

The research raised concerns for ACCAN that the current offerings from telcos to small businesses do not match the increasingly heavy reliance that small businesses have on telecommunications. Service level agreements and performance guarantees for small businesses need to be available and enforced. Telcos need to champion their products and offer usable solutions and contingency plans in the event that their services fail. At the end of the day, the small business operator should not suffer inconvenience and loss of business due to a lack of services beyond their control. They should not have to deal with the details, they need faults fixed immediately or an agreed alternative needs to be provided by their telco.

Google and ACCAN partnered again in 2015 to offer a paid internship opportunity with ACCAN. Applicants were invited to submit a brief proposal outlining a research project on an emerging communications consumer issue.

The winner was recent law graduate, Alexander Vulkanovski, who tackled the hot topic of the Internet of Things. "Home, Tweet Home": Implications of the Connected Home, Human and Habitat on Australian Consumers is a first-class piece of research by a talented up-and-coming lawyer. 

There are many factors that affect the performance of broadband services that could inform consumer decision making, as shown in the ACCC broadband performance monitoring trial. At the same time, broadband literacy amongst consumers is low. This short survey sought to understand the basis on which consumers decide on broadband products, and provide insight into what information is useful in future decision making.