Hot Issues

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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COVIDSafe app

ACCAN responded to the draft Bill1 regarding the COVIDSafe app in collaboration with 17 organisations flagging concerns of consumer groups across the fields of health, technology, privacy, human rights, digital inclusion, communications and community interests.

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For World Consumer Rights Day 2020, ACCAN looks at how consumers can do their part to promote sustainability in the telco sector.

Sustainability is an evolving issue for industries around the world. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the way that we produce and consume goods and services, including in the telco sector.

Nearly 90% of Australians now own a mobile phone1. For many of us, they have become the go-to device to keep in touch socially and for work, to take photos, and to navigate from place to place. As mobile phones continue to evolve to include features like foldable screens and multi-lens cameras, it’s worth taking a moment to consider what resources go into making these smart devices.

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As bushfires continue to burn across the country, a reliable phone service quickly becomes a lifeline.

ACCAN is aware of reports of network outages due to blackouts and power failures in bushfire affected areas. It’s important to know that unless you have a battery back-up, your NBN home phone will not work during a power outage. As a precaution, it is best to have a charged mobile phone that you can use during a power outage.

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Brick building with EMERGENCY sign

When disaster strikes, you want to be able to call for help. As Australia makes the switch to the NBN, it’s important to know that traditional methods of connecting to emergency services may not work.

In the event of a power outage, phone and internet services provided over the NBN network will not work. This will also affect any medical alarms or security alarms that you may have which connect through the NBN.

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Image shows a rectangluar present with Merry Christmas printed across the wrapping paper. It has a red bow on the top left hand corner.As we head into the festive season, many of us will be thinking about what new gadget we’d like to find under the Christmas tree or snap up in the Boxing Day sales. With the telcos stepping up their advertising around 5G, many people have started to look into purchasing 5G phones and home broadband plans. If you’re keen to be one of these early-adopters, don’t sign on the dotted line before you’ve read our tips below.

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