Media Releases

ACCAN's work informs public debate about consumer issues in the communications landscape.  Welcome to our collection of the latest news and current affairs that impact communications consumers. 

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New research from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has revealed that almost three in four Australians agree that it needs to be easier to make a complaint and to get their issues resolved when dealing with digital platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, eBay, and Service NSW.

A nationally representative survey of 1,000 Australians conducted by the peak body for communications consumers using Ipsos’ Digital Omnibus online survey found that 74% of respondents think that it needs to be easier for people to make a complaint, and 78% think that it needs to be easier for people to get their issues resolved on digital platforms. Digital platforms were defined as websites and apps such as social media, Government online services, job search sites, dating apps, messaging apps and online marketplaces. ACCAN’s polling also shows that 60% of Australians feel there’s not much they can do when something goes wrong online.

Households struggling with the cost of connectivity would benefit from the introduction of new rules that would make it mandatory for telcos to offer a low-income product, according to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN). The recommendation for new regulatory requirements comes as the peak body for communications consumers releases new research which examines the effectiveness of the telecommunication industry’s programs and offers aimed at assisting people on low incomes to stay connected.

Further investments to promote greater choice and availability for mobile phone users as well as improving the reliability and affordability of telecommunications services are vital to ensuring regional Australians are guaranteed access to essential telecommunications services, according to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

The recommendations come from the peak body for communications consumers’ submission to the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review. This triannual process examines the telecommunications landscape in regional, rural, and remote Australia to identify paths for improvement.  

ACCAN welcomes the news of the launch of DIGI’s Misinformation and Disinformation Complaints Portal, which implements the commitments made by signatories to the Australian Disinformation and Misinformation Code of Practice.

While the Complaints Portal represents a step in the right direction for limiting the spread of mis- and disinformation on digital platforms, we do have some concerns however regarding the accessibility of the Complaints Portal for consumers.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has welcomed an overall fall in complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), however, raised concerns that small businesses may be suffering as complaint levels from the sector reach a three year high.

Complaint data published today in the TIO’s Annual Report 2020-2021 shows that complaints about phone and internet services fell 6.1% in the last financial year. Among these 119,400 complaints, the TIO identified 19,689 complaints from small businesses, the highest volume of small business complaints in the last three years. Concerningly, complaints from small businesses about no or delayed action increased by 28.2% from 2019-2020, failure to cancel a service increased by 67.6% and provider uncontactable increased by 181%.

“Phone and internet services have never been more essential for people in Australia, with much of the country working and learning from home during rolling lockdowns throughout the last financial year,” said ACCAN Deputy CEO Andrew Williams. “While it’s positive to see that the overall level of complaints has fallen, we can’t lose sight of the fact that over 100,000 people have had to escalate a phone or internet problem to the TIO because they weren’t able to have their problem resolved by their telco.”

Released today, the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan is a valuable roadmap for government, regulators, and the telecommunications industry for achieving communications services that are trusted, inclusive, obtainable, and available for all, according to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

The report by the nation’s independent infrastructure advisor, Infrastructure Australia, outlines key recommendations to Australia’s infrastructure sector that aim to drive economic growth, maintain and enhance the standard of living in Australia, and improve the resilience and sustainability of essential infrastructure.

“As the voice for communications consumers, ACCAN was very proud to partner with Infrastructure Australia on the development of the Telecommunications and digital chapter within the 2021 report,” said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin.

The board of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) today announces that ACCAN’s CEO of 11 years, Teresa Corbin, will be leaving at the end of October 2021 to take up an exciting new career opportunity.

Deirdre O’Donnell, ACCAN Chairperson said, “Teresa’s time as leader of ACCAN has been of enormous importance to our organisation in broadening its impact and its influence - always in the best interests of all consumers - on the Australian telecommunications industry. We know her legacy is a significant one, and we look forward to celebrating her many achievements at an appropriate time later this year.”

Ms O’Donnell added, “The board is confident that ACCAN as an organisation is in a wonderful position thanks to Teresa’s leadership. The ACCAN board will initiate recruitment for our next CEO in the months ahead. We are very pleased that from November Andrew Williams, ACCAN’s Deputy CEO will step up as acting CEO.

With millions of Australians facing extended lockdowns, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has called on NBN Co to fast-track the introduction of a low-income product to allow struggling households to work and learn remotely.

The call to action comes as part of the consumer advocacy group’s submission to NBN Co’s Special Access Undertaking Variation 2021 Discussion Paper.

“Communities in New South Wales are now entering their sixth week of lockdown. For those in Greater Sydney, that has meant homes have had to double as offices and classrooms for millions of Australians,” said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin.

“The sad reality is that not everyone has access to a reliable broadband connection at home. Some households have had to try and support simultaneous work meetings and online education from a single slow hotspot from a mobile phone, while others have been unable to learn online at all.”

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has promoted veteran executive Andrew Williams to Deputy Chief Executive Officer and human rights specialist Meredith Lea to Policy Manager, as part of the organisation’s investment in a growing leadership team.

ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin said the promotions recognised the important role that the pair have played in advancing ACCAN’s work towards ensuring communications services are trusted, inclusive, accessible, and available for all.

 Today’s renewal of the telco COVID-19 principles by the telecommunications industry is a symbolic effort but will not sufficiently protect telco consumers, according to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

First introduced in April 2020, the telecommunications hardship principles for COVID-19 were co-designed by the Federal Government and the telecommunications industry to provide a consistent baseline across industry to help customers stay connected, including those who are experiencing hardship.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has heeded the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)’s call for no Australian to be left offline, with the release of the Human Rights and Technology Final Report

The report, presented to the Attorney General, details the Australian Human Rights Commission’s support for a concessional broadband rate for low-income households to make internet access more affordable and improve digital inclusion.

“The past year has demonstrated just how essential it is to be online,” said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin. “With Melbourne in the midst of its latest lockdown, and families forced back into remote work and schooling, we need to act now to make sure that our most vulnerable have access to a reliable, affordable broadband product.”

Australia’s consumer voice on communications issues, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), has cautioned that consumers may seek alternative home broadband solutions, like 5G, if NBN prices are not addressed.

“As home broadband alternatives like 5G become more accessible in more areas across the country, NBN Co is going to have to demonstrate to cost-conscious consumers why they should choose an NBN service over these alternatives,” said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin. “This means that they’re going to have to provide more competitive wholesale prices if they want to keep customers in these areas.”