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Welcome to the latest current affairs that impact communications consumers. 

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Peak consumer body ACCAN says current and ex Vodafone customers will be left shaking their heads today when they discover that, 12 months on, the telecommunications regulator has let the provider off virtually scot-free for the widespread network, complaint-handling problems that plagued Vodafone customers last summer.

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 The ACMA Communications Report 2010-11 was released today. This major piece of research provides a snapshot of the communications services available and the preferences of Australian consumers. Here’s some key statistics that may be of interest to ACCAN members:

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After a year of community calls for action, including those made Fair Calls for All superhero, Number Woman, the telecommunications regulator, the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA), has proposed changes so that 1800 numbers will be free and 13/1300 numbers will cost about 30 cents to call from a mobile phone, just as they currently do from landlines.

Now’s the time to take action! The ACMA wants to hear from interested parties by this Wednesday 30th November. So far we've had over 750 people make a submission, and we've made it easy for you to share your story.

Send a message to the ACMA to say that you want Fair Calls For All. It only takes a minute or two!

Further background on the Fair Calls campaign

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ACCAN Chief Executive Teresa Corbin and Senior Policy Adviser Jonathan Gadir have given evidence in front of the Joint Committee: National Broadband Network (Rollout of the National Broadband Network) in Sydney this morning. They discussed the need for low-income broadband affordability measures, voice-only services and the demand for consumers for independent information about the NBN.

Earlier this year ACCAN published a NBN: Guide for Consumers, which Corbin says has been very much in demand. ACCAN says it looks forward to the establishment of a Consumer Advisory Panel within NBN Co, to meet quarterly to discuss issues that are of concern to consumers. 

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Once every three years the Department of Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy (DBCDE) undertakes a Regional Telecommunications Review, which considers whether people in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia have equitable access to telecommunications.

If your organisation is based in regional Australia, or you live in regional Australia, we’d love to hear your views via this short survey by 4 November 2011.

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ACCAN Chief Executive Officer, Teresa Corbin, delivered an address to the telecommunications industry at the CommsDay Congress in Melbourne on Wednesday 12th October. Her speech covered a range of subjects, including the history of consumer representation in telecommunications and its funding arrangements, an outline of the work ACCAN does, and why consumer representation in this area remains so vital.

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In establishing ACCAN in 2009, the government committed to conduct a review of ACCAN's performance after two years of operation. Having now reached that point, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) is keen to hear your views.

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Use social media? Have a disability?

If you do, then ACCAN and Media Access Australia (MAA) would like to hear from you.

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Congratulations to ACCAN's own Wayne Hawkins, who won a prestigious award at the 2011 Deafness Forum Captioning Awards held in Sydney last night.

Wayne was awarded the Roma Wood OAM Community Award for his contribution to changes that will see captioning quality standards enshrined in legislation. This is a great win, not only for ACCAN, but for all Australians who are Deaf or hearing-impaired, people who use captions in noisy environments, to learn English, or for any of the many reasons that captioning is in demand.

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