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The ACMA has sought comment on Draft Captioning Reduction orders numbers 00132-00137 inclusive.  Whilst ACCAN is mindful of the goal of reaching 100 percent of captioning on subscription television services by 2032 as defined in the Broadcast Services Act, as the mentioned services are specifically racing services, a lot of information is already printed on screen and ACCAN does not see significant detriment to consumers by these orders being granted.

ACCAN has recently submitted to the five-year independent review of the TIO in a joint submission with Consumer Action Law Centre, Financial Counselling Australia and WEstjustice. Our submission highlighted the vital role that the TIO performs when dealing with consumers’ unresolved phone and internet complaints. We identified areas where the TIO could expand and improve its activities so that it continues to meet the Australian Government’s Benchmarks for Industry-Based Customer Dispute Resolution.

Under the Telecommunications Act 1997, the ACCC is required to conduct a review into whether a Ministerial Determination should be made to specify the amount of control a carrier should have of a telecommunications company before that company is subject to the requirements under the Facilities Access Regime (the Regime). Carriers subject to the Regime must, on request, give another carrier access to infrastructure, such as transmission towers. The Regime is important in facilitating competition and the efficient use and provision of telecommunications services. Previously, only licensed carriers were subject to the Regime, however due to market developments, namely Telstra’s restructure, there is a question as to whether carriers with less equity in a passive tower company should be subject to the Regime.

It is ACCAN’s view that consumers would benefit if all infrastructure providers, not just licensed carriers, were subject to the Regime, for the following reasons:

ACCAN recently submitted to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications’ Streaming Services Reporting and Investment Scheme Discussion Paper. The discussion paper requests comments on a potential scheme to ensure that streaming services, such as Netflix, Stan and Disney+, invest in original Australian productions and promote local content on their services. ACCAN made five recommendations:

ACCAN recently provided feedback to the Treasury and Data Standards Body on their Consumer Data Right rules and standards design paper for the telecommunications sector. The consultation asked for informal feedback regarding the scope, eligibility, and implementation of a Consumer Data Right to the telecommunications sector.

ACCAN is supportive of the introduction of the Consumer Data Right (CDR) regime across the telecommunications sector. However, ACCAN is keen to ensure that the development of the CDR in the telecommunications sector continues to be informed by the lived experiences of consumers, to make sure that this regime is as useful as possible for end users.

ACCAN recently submitted feedback to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) regarding its Discussion Paper for Interim Report No. 5: Updating competition and consumer law for digital platform services. The discussion paper will inform the ACCC’s fifth interim report for the Digital Platform Services Inquiry. ACCAN’s submission acknowledged the need for regulatory reform to ensure that Australian consumers continue to enjoy the benefits from digital platforms while reducing their harms.

ACCAN has recently submitted to the telco regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), to inform its 2022-23 compliance priorities. The ACMA’s Compliance Priorities set out the areas it will focus its compliance and enforcement activities on in the coming year. ACCAN’s submission raised a number of telco areas in need of increased compliance and enforcement activity.

ACCAN recently provided feedback to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) on its draft guidance note, Complaints about Telecommunications Equipment. This guidance note sets out the types of device and equipment complaints the TIO can resolve, and how these will be handled by the TIO. ACCAN’s submission acknowledged the TIO’s ongoing engagement with consumer groups on this issue, and recommended that the guidance note provides additional detail on a number of areas.

ACCAN welcomes the revision of Communication Alliance’s Reducing Scam Calls and Scam SMs Industry Code. The code outlines procedures to reduce the number of scam calls and short messages (SMs) delivered to Australian telecommunications consumers. Scam calls and short messages are annoying at best and harmful at worst and ACCAN approves of measures that limit their spread. While the industry code is a timely addition for restricting scam calls and short messages, it could be further improved with clarification regarding two points:

ACCAN recently submitted to the Communications Alliance review of Industry Code C525:2017, regarding the Handling of Life Threatening or Unwelcome Communications.

After consulting with member organisations, ACCAN is not aware of any issues affecting consumers in relation to this Code, and as such, has recommended this Code continue unchanged.

ACCAN has made a submission to the Department of the Treasury’s Exposure Draft Designation for the Telco Sector CDR.

As previously submitted, ACCAN supports the inclusion of the Telco sector in the Government’s CDR regime.

We were pleased to note that many of our previously recommended data sets were included in the Designation. However, we believe that the CDR will provide greater consumer benefit when additional data sets related to broadband speed and reliability are able to be included in the regime.

ACCAN recently responded to a consultation on revising the ACCC’s Broadband Speed Claims Industry Guidance (the Guidance). The ACCC are considering changes to reflect recent developments in the market including the growing importance of upload speeds and the growth of alternative fixed wireless access networks.