Hot Issues

Welcome to the latest current affairs that impact communications consumers. 

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Rural Telecommunications Tower

The Australian Government is currently reviewing the future of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) beyond 2024. This blog post aims to answer some of the general questions consumers may have about this important consumer protection.

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The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is calling on the Federal Government to implement direct regulation, via a service provider determination, to protect consumers facing domestic and family violence.

ACCAN welcomed the Government’s decision earlier this year to enforce protections for financial hardship. Yet just as financial hardship should not be a reason Australians are forced to go without essential communications services, victim-survivors of domestic and family violence (DFV) should not be cut off from crucial means of communication due to the actions of abusers or as a result of poor practice on the part of service providers.

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Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the ACCAN will be held at the ACCAN office, WeWork, 320 Pitt Street, Sydney or via Zoom, on Thursday 12th October 2023 from 4.00pm.

ACCAN AGM

Date:  Thursday 12 October 2023
Time:  4.00pm (AEDT)
Venue: Hybrid Meeting via Zoom or at the ACCAN office, WeWork, 320 Pitt Street, Sydney – Please register from here by 10 October 2023

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Pictured - a using a braille keyboard

The resource provides a series of guidelines on how to make Word and PDF documents accessible and outlines a checklist to create accessible publications and presentations. It also lists the accessibility features of different online meeting platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet, and identifies key physical, visual and audio requirements for accessible physical meeting spaces.

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ACCAN is seeking nominations for Directors to fill four (4) vacancies on its Board.

In accordance with the ACCAN Constitution, the 2023-2024 ACCAN Board will consist of nine (9) members[1]. Six (6) positions are continuing Directors from the 2022-2023 Board. One (1) Director is retiring from the Board having completed two full terms and is ineligible for re-election in 2023-24.  One (1) Director resigned from the Board on 16 August 2023. Two (2) Directors were co-opted to fill casual vacancies in 2022-23 in accordance with Section 21 of the ACCAN Constitution and are eligible to nominate for election to the Board.  In accordance with Section 20 of the ACCAN Constitution, Board members are elected for a three-year term.

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Telecommunications tower

With the impending shut down of 3G networks and reallocation of spectrum for a range of uses, there is a great deal of discussion about what is spectrum and its essentiality in our daily lives. It is also an issue that many consumers, understandably, know little about. This article aims to provide some high-level information on spectrum, its uses and its importance to all of us, with as little technical jargon as possible.

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CommsDay Forum Speech – 14 June 2023

Andrew Williams – ACCAN CEO

 

Good afternoon everyone and thanks to Grahame and the Commsday team for the invitation to present to you today.

Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today. I would also like to pay my respects to Elders past, present, and emerging

It’s been a while since I’ve been up on stage at one of these events

As you no doubt are aware, there’s a lot going on in this space at the moment, so I thought I’d use this time to give you an update on some of the key issues as we see them.

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Person looking through billsAs the end of the financial year approaches, we can expect that prices for many goods and services will rise.  Telecommunications services will not be immune from this and we’re already seeing new pricing structures start to enter the market.

Every provider will most likely have a different process, making it hard to compare like for like.  For example, some are promising an increased data limit by way of compensation for the increased monthly charge, but this may not always provide any benefit.  

For many consumers, the promise of extra data is of little importance, as most Australians only use 11.8 GB of data each month. (ACCC December 2021).  Therefore, rather than simply accept the price rise, this is a perfect time to review your telecommunications needs and look for a plan that best suits.

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Mobile phone screen showing appsAustralia's telecommunications landscape is undergoing a significant change with the impending switch-off of 3G (or third generation) mobile technology services. In 2019, the country's major telecommunications companies, Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone, announced their plans to retire their 3G networks to make way for the faster and more efficient 4G and 5G services.

The switch-off, set to take place later this year and in the second half of 2024, will affect many Australian consumers and businesses. As can be seen below, the big networks are all planning different switch off dates.

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Dear ACCAN Members, 

 We would like to advise everyone that due to the unfortunate passing of Her Majesty the Queen and the National Day of Mourning on September 22nd, ACCAN’s Annual General meeting, scheduled for that day, will need to be re-scheduled.

 In anticipation of a quorum of members not being present at the scheduled meeting, under Section 15.3.2 of ACCAN’s Constitution, we propose we adjourn the meeting to the same time for the following week; 4.00pm Thursday 29th September 2022.   The rescheduled meeting will also be conducted online using the same Zoom link if you have registered already. 

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the ACCAN will be held via virtual meeting, on Thursday 29th September 2022 from 4.00pm.

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Image of a person holding a landline phone in front of a window.

Overview

The Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code is an industry code that sets out rules and benchmarks for how telcos must deal with their customers. It protects customers who use mobile phone, landline and internet services, including the NBN.

Sales, advertising, customer service, contracts, billing, credit and debt management, financial hardship arrangements and switching telcos are all covered under the TCP Code.

The TCP Code has been around since 2007 and is reviewed at least every 5 years.

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ACCAN is seeking nominations for Directors to fill four (4) vacancies on its Board.

In accordance with the ACCAN Constitution, the 2022-2023 ACCAN Board will consist of nine (9) members1. Five (5) positions are continuing Directors from the 2021-2022 Board. Five (5) 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; and/or experience in financial management and governance in a not-for-profit organisation; and/or with lived experience of disability; and/or small businesses; and/or an understanding of the issues affecting young consumers ;and/or from an Indigenous background or with strong linkages to Indigenous communities.

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