As Australian households increasingly feel the impact of higher costs of living, new research by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) conducted in April has revealed that 90% of Australians think that telcos should provide an affordable internet plan as standard so that everyone can remain connected.

A nationally representative survey of nearly 1,000 Australians conducted by the peak body for communications consumers also found that more than 80% (82%) view a home internet connection as essential. At the same time, more than a quarter (27%) say their phone and internet costs are unaffordable.

“We know that so much of our everyday personal and professional lives now depend on having access to a reliable, affordable internet service. In 2022, having a home internet connection is as essential as electricity and is no longer a luxury,” said ACCAN CEO, Andrew Williams.

These research findings come at a time when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is being urged by ACCAN and Retail Service Providers alike to reject the NBN’s latest proposal to vary its Special Access Undertaking (SAU) due to concerns about pricing.

ACCAN’s research also revealed that more than half (53%) of Australians are paying between $50-$99 per month to keep connected to their home broadband service.

“For some households, this is an extraordinary but necessary cost,” explained Mr Williams.

“Without access to a home internet service, children can struggle to complete homework online after school, and families can find it extremely difficult to access online services such as Telehealth, banking, and important government services to name just a few.”

To address the affordability of home internet services, ACCAN would like to see the Federal government introduce a comprehensive review of the rules governing telecommunications affordability. Currently, only Telstra is required to offer products and arrangements to low-income customers under its Carrier Licence Conditions. If this obligation were extended to all telcos, consumers would have greater choice of affordable entry-level home broadband services.

ACCAN is also advocating for NBN Co to offer a concessional broadband product for households on income support.

“If Australia is to be a leading digital economy and society by 2030, at a minimum we need to make sure that all households are able to afford what’s needed to get them online and stay connected,” said Mr Williams.

The snapshot can be viewed in full here

ACCAN will be releasing further findings from this research in the coming weeks.

Notes to the Editor
This data collection was conducted by ACCAN, using Ipsos’ Digital Omnibus online survey. Terms and Conditions of Ipsos’ Digital platform use:

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