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Local number portability allows consumers to transfer – or ‘port’ – their local landline telephone number to a new service with a different telco provider. This allows consumers to switch providers without losing their number, which supports competition in the telco market.

Local number porting can be a complicated technical process. The Local Number Portability Code (the Code) outlines the procedures that telcos must follow in relation to local number porting. It is important that the Code is thorough and fair so that consumers do not lose their local number in the process, or face lengthy delays when switching providers.

ACCAN’s submission to the Code review makes recommendations to amend the Code to improve consumers’ experiences of local number porting, in line with changes in the market and providers’ technical capabilities. We also recommend that consumers’ rights during the local number porting process should be reviewed and strengthened.

The ACCC recently sought feedback on its position to declare the Wholesale Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) service until 30 June 2024. The declaration will require Telstra to continue to provide other internet service providers access to Telstra’s copper network on request, allowing for retail competition on the network.

ACCAN has made a submission to the Communications Alliance review of AS/ACIF S040: 2001   Requirements for Customer Equipment for use with the Standard Telephone Service — Features for special needs of persons with disabilities. While recognising the significant changes which have taken place across the telecommunications industry since 2001, ACCAN’s submission stressed the importance of maintaining these accessibility standards.

On 13 July 2021, the Australian Government opened consultation on options for regulatory reforms and voluntary incentives to strengthen the cyber security of Australia’s digital economy.

ACCAN made a submission in response to the Strengthening Australia’s cyber security regulations and incentives discussion paper. ACCAN submitted that:

ACCAN responded to the Federal Government’s consultation on the grant guidelines for the Peri-Urban Mobile Program. The program is designed to deliver funding to improve mobile connectivity in bushfire prone areas on the peri-urban fringe of major cities.

As part of its ongoing commitment to fighting spam, the ACMA invited ACCAN to make a submission commenting on the necessity of maintaining regulatory control of unsolicited fax marketing. Since the introduction of the Fax Marketing Industry Standard 2011, the number of consumer complaints about fax marketing spam has declined dramatically, with only 146 complaints in the last ten years, and most of those prior to 2014. The 2011 Standard is due to sunset on 1 October 2021, and ACCAN agreed with the ACMA’s proposal to replace the existing 2011 Standard with a 2021 Standard which retains all the existing consumer protections.

ACCAN is keenly following the scope of the ACCC’s Digital Platforms activities as there are clear implications, both positive and negative, for consumers in many of these areas under review. Unarguably, the increased convergence of digital technologies can provide significant benefits for both individuals and the broader community when the appropriate competition and consumer protections are in place. ACCAN is supportive of competitive and efficient markets that provide consumers choice and confidence.

ACCAN recently submitted to the Digital Identity Legislation Phase 2 consultation. While ACCAN welcomed several of the provisions included in the draft legislation we had concerns about the following:

The Consumer Data Right, also known as the CDR, is a new law designed to give consumers greater access and control of their own data and more readily compare and switch between products and services, which encourages competition between services providers.

The CDR allows consumers to direct their data to be shared from their existing service provider through a secure online system with a new provider of their choice. To receive CDR data, data recipients need to become accredited.

NBN Co’s Special Access Undertaking (SAU) is a key part of the nbn’s regulatory framework. The SAU determines how much nbn can charge for wholesale phone and internet services and provides the framework for non-price issues to help ensure the nbn works in a way that protects the long-term interest of consumers.

On the 18th June ACCAN attended an industry roundtable hosted by the ACCC. The purpose of this roundtable was to discuss the regulatory arrangements for the nbn that could be established under the revised SAU – Special Access Undertaking. The ACCC prepared a framing paper prior to the roundtable. In response to the framing paper, ACCAN:

In July 2021 Treasury released exposure draft amendments to the Consumer Data Right rules and explanatory materials for consultation (version 3 of the rules).

The Treasury’s exposure draft amendments changed the CDR Rules to “reduce barriers for participation in open banking” and “increase participation in the CDR by data recipients and consumers” by: