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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The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has welcomed measures to improve connectivity for people living in regional Australia in the 2022-23 Federal Budget, however stressed the need for urgent government action on broadband affordability.

The Coalition Government has announced $811.8 million in funding for the Connecting Regional Australia Initiative to expand mobile coverage and improve connectivity, resilience and affordability in regional, rural and peri-urban Australia.

While the essentiality of communications services has been demonstrated by natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, the affordability of communications services continues to be an issue, especially for Australians on lower incomes.

The board of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) today announced that Andrew Williams has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer for the organisation.

“Following an executive search process, the board has determined that Acting CEO Andrew Williams is the best person to lead ACCAN forward as CEO,” said ACCAN Chair Deirdre O’Donnell.

Mr Williams took on the role of Acting CEO in October 2021 and has successfully led the ACCAN team over the past five months.

“The board is very pleased to confirm that Andrew is now our permanent CEO,” added Ms O’Donnell.

The release of the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review holds promise for better connectivity for regional, rural and remote Australians, according to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

The Regional Telecommunications Review is a tri-annual process which plays an important role in assessing the issues impacting regional, rural and remote consumers of telecommunications services. The 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review, chaired by Luke Hartsuyker, has outlined more than a dozen key findings relating to issues such as digital connectivity, reliability of regional communications services, and digital inclusion.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is pleased to have been named as a successful recipient in the auDA Foundation 2021 Grants Program.

The auDA Foundation has awarded grants to 15 organisations for education and research initiatives that enhance the utility of the Internet for Australians across three key areas:

  • Digital inclusion (with an emphasis on First Nations peoples)
  •  Cyber security for small business
  • Internet access for young Australians

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has welcomed the ACMA’s action against Telstra for breaching consumer privacy rules related to the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND).

“It is vital that consumer information stored in the IPND is accurate and secure. Emergency services use the IPND, as well as a range of other information, to locate people calling for assistance,” said ACCAN Acting CEO Andrew Williams.”

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) Indigenous Steering Committee has called for investments in First Nations co-designed local solutions and dedicated funding for more digital skills training in a submission to the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA)’s Indigenous Digital Inclusion Plan Discussion Paper.

Established after ACCAN’s 2021 Indigenous Advisory Forum, the Indigenous Steering Committee guides ACCAN’s work so that it is genuinely representative of the interests of First Nations peoples.

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.