Research Publications

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The Universal Service Obligation (USO), which guarantees every premises access to a voice service, is outdated.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.

The impact of session rounding on mobile data costs

Mobile data is an important resource in our connected lives, but one that is challenging to estimate when selecting a mobile plan. Our mobile data use can vary significantly from month to month depending on many factors such as access to Wi-Fi when at home or work and use while commuting. Another factor that many do not consider is the impact of data session rounding.