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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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Better Basics is the theme for the 2022 Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) conference which is to be held online on September 14. The aim of this year’s conference is to outline some of the key issues that are of continuing importance to consumers, and to highlight the work being done by consumer advocates, industry, regulators, and politicians to improve the communications sector and get the basics right for consumers.  

At a time when being connected to communications services is so crucial to everyday life, the reliability of services is essential. Conference delegates will hear from industry experts about measures they’re undertaking to ensure that consumers have reliable access to broadband, mobile and landline services, no matter where they live in Australia.

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.

Home broadband services have become increasingly expensive and are out of reach for many households facing cost of living pressures. Furthermore, issues with reliability remain a key frustration for many Australians. The experience of the pandemic has taught us that broadband is an essential service which should be available and reliable to all.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is urging the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to reject the NBN’s latest proposal to vary its Special Access Undertaking (SAU) due to concerns with pricing, along with a lack of service quality framework. The SAU is a key part of NBN’s regulatory framework that governs the prices NBN is allowed to charge for the services it supplies to phone and internet retailers.

The affordability and availability of broadband services in Australia has remained a significant problem for many vulnerable communities and people on low incomes. Despite an increase in remote learning, telehealth services and work from home arrangements in the last two years there are still approximately 900,000 Australian households who do not have an in-home internet connection1.

Launching its latest policy position “The Future of Broadband,” the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is warning that enduring provisions to safeguard the interests of Australians are needed to protect consumers. Since the National Broadband Network was declared ‘built’ by the Federal Government in 2020, Australians have endured lockdowns, natural disasters and more recently, significant increases to the cost of living.

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.