Accessible Telecoms, a service run by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has today launched a new resource to help consumers check their devices will work after the shutdown of 3G networks.

Accessible Telecoms provides consumers with free information, tips and training about accessible products and software. Today, they are launching a 3G shutdown tipsheet to help ensure their audience isn’t left behind. The tipsheet walks consumers through how they can check their connected devices and, if necessary, replace devices that aren’t compatible post-shutdown.

3G shutdown: Australian map, calendar, and mobile phone showing alarm and alert symbolsAustralian telcos are turning off the 3G network

Australian telecommunications companies are closing their 3G networks to increase the capacity and speed of 4G and 5G services. Devices that only connect to 3G won’t be able to make or receive calls and texts or access the internet. Some early 4G devices are also impacted.

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Funding of universal telecommunications services (RBS Review)

ACCAN recently commented on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts’ consultation on the Funding of universal telecommunications services (RBS Review). The funding of the universal service obligation (USO) is integral to ensuring the efficacy and longevity of Australia’s communications services, especially for those who are living in regional, rural and remote areas, have specific accessibility needs, or are living on a low income.

ACCAN recently submitted to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)’s consultation paper on Expiring spectrum licences (stage 2) – information gathering, and views on uses of frequency bands and alternative licence conditions (the Consultation Paper).

ACCAN supports the ACMA’s finalised expiring spectrum licence (ESL) stage 2 information gathering framework and its public interest criteria (PIC) as outlined in the Consultation Paper.

ACCAN recommends that the ACMA:

ACCAN recently submitted to the inquiry into regional telecommunications in Western Australia, focusing on mobile telecommunications failure during widespread power outages.

ACCAN recently submitted to the Senate Select Committee on Adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI).

ACCAN considers that the consumer sector requires greater support to engage with AI and other emerging technologies that will impact consumers. At present there is no consumer group funded to engage with AI and emerging technologies on behalf of consumers. As AI and other emerging technologies become embedded in our societies and markets there are growing risks of harms.

Telecommunications consumers experiencing domestic and family violence must see mandatory protections through direct regulation, say consumer advocates, in the wake of an important speech by the Chair of the ACMA which raised questions about the effectiveness of the current co-regulatory regime.

Consumer advocates including the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC), the Centre for Women’s Economic Safety (CWES), and the Economic Abuse Reference Group (EARG) represent and assist consumers in vulnerable circumstances, including those facing DFV.

ACCAN recently submitted to the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) consultation on its Five-year spectrum outlook 2024–29 and 2024–25 work program Consultation Paper. Our submission:

  • Supports the ACMA’s public interest criteria with respect to spectrum planning and allocation.
  • Encourages the ACMA to explore the adoption of shorter-term flexible spectrum licences.
  • Supports the ACMA giving further consideration towards ensuring that their engagement strategies fully capture consumer experiences as end users of spectrum.
  • Supports the introduction of a reply comment period for future spectrum consultations.

ACCAN recently submitted to the NSW Fair Trading Strategy and Regulatory Priorities Discussion Paper (the Discussion Paper).

ACCAN supports the proposed strategic direction as outlined in the Discussion Paper. ACCAN considers that NSW Fair Trading should take into account the connectivity issues faced by communications consumers living in strata/renting when deciding its future strategy and regulatory priorities.

ACCAN recently submitted to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts on the draft Ministerial Policy Statement — Expiring Spectrum Licences (the Draft). 

ACCAN recently submitted to Communications Alliance’s consultation on the review of the G596:2013 Communications Support for Emergency Response Industry Guideline (the Guideline). 

The Guideline provides a procedure that facilitates cooperation between Pre-planned Service Providers, Secondary Service Providers, and Emergency Services Organisations in circumstances where pre-planned services are inadequate, and ad-hoc additional communications supports are requested by an Emergency Services Organisation. 

ACCAN recently submitted to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Digital Platform Services Inquiry – September 2024 report revisiting general search services issues paper.