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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ACCAN recently provided feedback to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) on its draft guidance note, Complaints about Telecommunications Equipment.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.

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications is reviewing 5 legislative instruments which determine how payphones are provided across Australia. The instruments cover payphone location, installation, removal, performance, consultation and complaint handling. In response to the review, ACCAN argued that the instruments should be remade and refined to provide greater consumer protections and to meet the needs of local communities.

ACCAN recently responded to a consultation which sought views on the instruments under Part 20A of the Telecommunications Act 1997 (the Act). Part 20A of the Act requires real estate developers to install fibre-ready ‘pit and pipe’ infrastructure in proximity to buildings prior to the developer selling or leasing the building. The requirement to provide fibre-ready pit and pipe, which facilitates fibre installation in new developments (with exemptions to the requirement captured in a 2011 Instrument and a 2021 Instrument) is now under review.

ACCAN has recently responded to a consultation which sought views on nbn Co’s proposal to develop a quality assurance mark (the Mark) for network extension devices. The aim of the Mark is to assist the agricultural sector in reaching its productivity potential via digital technologies, specifically through extending home-based NBN connections beyond the home.

ACCAN has recently made a submission to the Treasury on its Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS), which explores possible changes to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). The changes are aimed at helping consumers access remedies (e.g. a repair, replacement, or refund) when a product or service doesn’t work the way it should. The Consultation RIS also explores ways to help retailers get compensation from manufacturers when a product is faulty. ACCAN supported some of the changes proposed in the RIS, including the introduction of incentives to make sure retailers always provide a remedy when consumers are entitled to one.

ACCAN has recently submitted to the telco regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), about renewing regulations that require Telstra to record and share information about their payphone services with the ACMA. ACCAN supported the remaking of the Record Keeping Rules. In addition, we argued that records about payphone performance should be routinely audited, and payphone performance information should be publicly available.

ACCAN recently submitted to the telco regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), on regulations that allow the ACMA to issue infringement notices (fines) when telcos don’t follow certain rules. ACCAN’s submission supported the remaking of the rules, and suggested changes to improve consumer safeguards and the way in which infringement notices are issued.