Hot Issues

Welcome to the latest current affairs that impact communications consumers. 

Sign up for ACCAN's weekly newsletter to have these news items sent to your email address each week.

[ List view  |  Detailed view ]

What media reforms are proposed in the Green Paper?

Spectrum reform

The key reform proposal relates to technical changes in the way broadcasting content might be delivered. Australian broadcast television is delivered using ‘spectrum’, and there is only a finite amount of spectrum available. Currently, all of the available spectrum is being used for free-to-air television broadcasting.

However, new digital broadcasting technology means less spectrum can now be used to deliver the same broadcasting services. The Government would like television broadcasters to work together to use less spectrum because:

  • If enough broadcasters agree to broadcast on less spectrum, there will be more free spectrum available to be used for other purposes. One of these potential purposes is to reallocate that spectrum to improve telecommunications networks in currently underserviced areas.

  • Because the amount of spectrum available is finite, it is a valuable asset. The Government could auction off this spectrum for a profit, which it says could then be re-invested. A fund could be established to support more regional news and more Australian drama, documentary and children’s content.

  • For example, the profit could be invested in more local news services in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia, and/or local television and film content production. The Green Paper doesn’t specify how much of the profit would be invested in local and regional news, or Australian content production.

Write comment (0 Comments)

Grandson helping grandmother find ways to stay connectedStruggling with the cost of your internet or mobile service? ACCAN has put together a list of telco offers for targeted groups to help stay connected.

As this list only shows offers for targeted groups, there may be alternative products and services out there for general consumers that meet your needs, so it’s also worth comparing plans. To do so, head to an online comparison site, such as WhistleOut or Finder. ACCAN has also prepared a money saving guide with tips to reduce your telco bill.

If you are unable to meet your bills and are in financial hardship, check out ACCAN’s hardship portal for more information on what you can do.

Write comment (2 Comments)

With much of Australia’s east coast currently impacted by wild weather, many Australians have found themselves evacuated or having lost telecommunications services due to the impact of this strong weather.

Which mobile phone and nbn sites have been impacted?

Optus

Visit Optus’ website to get the latest updates for customers in flood-impacted areas

Telstra

Visit Telstra’s website to get the latest updates for customers in flood-impacted areas

Write comment (0 Comments)

Consumers often experience long wait times and poor customer service when trying to resolve issues with their telcos, but how much time does this take, and at what cost?


To find out, ACCAN commissioned a survey to ask 2994 consumers about their experiences when they contact their telco. Based on the results, we have worked out the cost to consumers in time lost resolving their telco issue, instead of doing something else.

Write comment (0 Comments)

The No Australian Left Offline - National Webinar was held 9 December and provided a report back on the key issues from the 6 State and Territory based virtual roundtables that have taken place during 2020.

These roundtables have provided a unique opportunity for those involved to share and discuss some of the barriers that are impacting communities when it comes to getting connected and using the internet.

ACCAN and nbn Co. plan to continue this collaborative approach into 2021, working towards more affordable, reliable broadband services for all Australians.

Write comment (0 Comments)

ACCAN’s Survey reveals telecommunications services are essential to small businesses but they are being let down by performance and customer service.

Man at desk checking his mobile phone

ACCAN surveyed 183 small and medium sized businesses between September – October to gain an understanding of SME’s experiences with their telecommunications providers during the pandemic.

Issues of speed, reliability, poor customer service and high costs were predominant. Of all the issues, speed and reliability was mentioned the most, with 39% of SMEs who provided feedback citing poor service performance, slow internet speeds, dropouts, outages, congestion and unacceptable latency.

Write comment (0 Comments)

At ACCAN, issues relating to accessibility have always been at the forefront of our policy and consumer education efforts. After celebrating our 10th birthday and reflecting upon the positive changes that we had successfully advocated for, we started contemplating what accessibility improvements ACCAN would like to see in the communications sector in 2020 and beyond. We considered the existing communications issues affecting people with disability and wondered what issues may arise in the future.

From this, ACCAN started developing an Ideal Accessible Communications Roadmap in consultation with the disability sector. Towards the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, we sought feedback from a range of organisations supporting people with disability. We asked about the top three communications issues that were currently affecting people with disability, the top three communications issues that contributors thought would affect people with disability in the future, and suggestions for possible solutions to address these existing and anticipated communications issues. Through email conversations, phone calls and group brainstorming sessions, we received responses from 35 organisations, including Disabled Peoples Organisations, advocacy groups and disability service providers, as well as nine individuals with disability who offered their own personal insights of their lived experience.

Write comment (0 Comments)

As the peak body for rural and remote health in Australia, the National Rural Health Alliance has been a vocal supporter of telehealth and the many benefits that it can bring, especially for those outside of metropolitan areas.


In the wake of COVID-19, we spoke to Dr Gabrielle O’Kane, CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance to hear about how people in regional, rural and remote Australia were adapting to telehealth and what the future may hold for this technology-driven approach to healthcare.

Write comment (0 Comments)

ACCAN logo

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the ACCAN will be held via virtual meeting, on Thursday 24th September 2020 from 4.00pm.

ACCAN AGM

Date: Thursday 24th September 2020

Time: 4:00pm (AEST)

Venue: Virtual Meeting via Zoom – Please register from here by 22nd September 2020.

Write comment (0 Comments)

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

In accordance with the ACCAN Constitution, the 2020-2021 ACCAN Board will consist of nine (9) members1. Six (6) positions are continuing Directors from the 2019-2020 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; and/or experience in financial management and governance in a not for profit organisation; and/or an understanding of the issues affecting young consumers; and/or small businesses.

Write comment (0 Comments)

Following a competitive application process, ACCAN is pleased to announce the successful Grants for 2020.

This year’s projects will explore a range of issues relevant to communications consumers, including how to protect children’s privacy when using apps, regional and rural consumers’ understanding of smart technologies, and the accessibility of video on demand services, among others.

The ACCAN Grants Program funds projects which undertake research on telecommunications issues, represent consumers or create educational tools which empower consumers to derive the greatest benefit from telecommunications products and services.
Research and outcomes achieved by Grants projects inform ACCAN's work and contribute to the broader evidence base for consumers, regulators and service providers in the telecommunications market.

The successful projects are listed below. For more information on the projects, visit the current Grants page.

Write comment (1 Comment)

Sue Salthouse recieving her ACCAN life memebrshipACCAN board and staff are deeply saddened by the passing of Sue Salthouse.

Sue was a dedicated advocate for people with disability and made huge contributions to improving the accessibility of telecommunications for people with disability in Australia.

Prior to becoming a member of the inaugural ACCAN Board, Sue was on the Telecommunications Consumer Representation Working Group which developed the proposal for the creation of ACCAN. Sue served as Chairperson following ACCAN’s first AGM in 2009 and stayed on as a member of the board until 2012. Sue also offered support to ACCAN’s Standing Advisory Committee on Disability Issues, as Chair of the Committee from 2009-2010. In recognition of her pivotal and enduring commitment to communications consumers, Sue was awarded ACCAN Life Membership in 2019.

Write comment (25 Comments)