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Welcome to the latest current affairs that impact communications consumers. 

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The Government has contracted ACCAN to research the ways in which people who are Deaf, Deafblind, or have hearing or speech impairment use the new Accesshub website.

Accesshub is a telecommunications information website provided by the Australian Government. Accesshub provides a range of information resources about how to use the National Relay Service (NRS) as well as information about mainstream communications equipment and services which may be suitable alternatives to the national relay service for some people. 

The focus groups will be held in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart with people who use the NRS and have used Accesshub. We are interested in how you currently use the Accesshub website, what you think about it, and how it could be improved. Participants will receive a $100 gift card to thank them for participating in the project. Light refreshments will also be provided.

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ACCAN is seeking nominations for Directors to fill three (3) vacancies on its Board.

In accordance with the ACCAN Constitution, the 2019-2020 ACCAN Board will consist of nine (9) members1. Six (6) positions are continuing Directors from the 2018-2019 Board. Three (3) Directors are retiring from the Board but may be eligible for re-election as stated in the ACCAN Constitution.

In accordance with the ACCAN Constitution Board members are elected for a three year term.

In order to ensure an appropriate balance, the Board is particularly seeking candidates with legal and regulatory expertise or experience; and/or experience in financial management and governance in a not for profit organisation; and/or with lived experience of disability; and/or an understanding of the issues affecting young consumers and/or small businesses.

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Man using a laptop

The NBN provides the wires that deliver broadband and fixed phone services to your home. Your telco pays the NBN owner, nbn co, to use the NBN and sell you broadband. This means that the service that you get from your telco is directly related to the service that nbn co gives telcos. This includes how long it takes to connect broadband customers, whether appointments with technicians are kept, the number and length of outages you may experience, or the speed of your broadband at different times of day.

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woman talking on a mobile phone

Telstra is once again making changes to its mobile phone plans. If you are an existing Telstra mobile customer, this may impact you.

From 26 August 2019, Telstra will be moving hundreds of thousands of customers off their old mobile phone plans and onto one of Telstra’s new plans.

Starting this week, Telstra is contacting customers who will be affected by this move. It’s important that you keep an eye out on your email inbox or letter box so that you know if you are one of the hundreds of thousands of customers who will be impacted by these changes.

 

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Young woman in yellow shirt on smart phone looks at watch
ACCAN often hears stories from consumers spending hours waiting and trying to resolve problems with telcos (eg on the phone, in shops, or via chat windows). We know that all this time has a value to consumers but what is the cost?

A new report released today from ACCAN provides advice on how to estimate the cost of consumer wait time.

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Appearing at ACCAnect 2019 - Delia Rickard - Deputy Chair of the ACCC, Nerida O'Loughlin – Chair of the ACMA and Judi Jones - Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

At ACCAN's national conference, ACCANect 2019, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from experts from across the telco industry, including Delia Rickard - Deputy Chair of the ACCC, Nerida O'Loughlin – Chair of the ACMA and Judi Jones - Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. 

These three organisation protect and enforce telco consumer safeguards in Australia. While they each handle different aspects of telco consumer protection, together they work towards safeguarding Australian telco consumers.

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Last week the communications regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, announced the registration of a new version of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code.

What does this mean for telecommunications consumers?

The Code is important because it contains rules that govern the life cycle of the customer’s relationship with their telco. From the telco’s advertising, to sales and contract/service agreements, through to customer service and billing, and switching telcos. It also covers rules about what telcos have to do to if customers have difficulty paying their bills, how they handle credit and debt management, and financial hardship.

The Code has been around since 2007, and this is its second major revision.

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Person using the computerHow much data do I need?

The data needs of every household are different, but the average household usage of data is between 80GB – 200GB per month. This means that most of the options outlined in our blog here would meet the needs of most households.

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Computer displaying various options on NetflixAlthough wireless broadband services may not compete in terms of speed with a faster fixed broadband connection, they may be suitable for many households currently on a 12mbps NBN service. If you don’t have a home phone anymore, and only use your broadband for basic internet activities like web browsing, emails and social media, it may be time to cut the cord and shift to wireless. These services use the same technology as the internet on your mobile phone.

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Picture showing map of Australia and voting box exclaiming 'What communications consumers need to know for the Federal Election 2016'

Find resouces on political party policies, election issues and more.