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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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.”

Proposed rules for wholesale telecommunications service providers must be tightened to protect Australians from under-performing phone and internet services, and slow connection and fault rectification timeframes, according to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

The draft Telecommunications (Statutory Infrastructure Providers – Standards, Rules and Benchmarks) Determination 2021 proposes standards, rules and benchmarks for telecommunications carriers that provide wholesale broadband services, such as NBN Co. The rules proposed are in relation to timeframes for connections, repairs and appointment keeping, rebates, speeds, remediation and record keeping.

New analysis commissioned by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) shows that urgent action is needed to address the digital divide in remote Indigenous communities in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns.

While much of the nation turned to digital services such as videoconferencing and telehealth during the rolling lockdowns put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic, very few remote Indigenous communities were able to work or learn from home, or access government and health services online. With access by service providers limited by travel restrictions, many people were left without access to essential services. In some remote communities, the Wi-Fi hotspot, the only point of access, was switched off to avoid people congregating.

“COVID-19 saw communities without food and necessities of life because of the lack of access to adequate, reliable, and robust telecommunications,” said ACCAN Board Member and proud Torres Strait Islander, Dr Heron Loban.

The Australian Communication Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) welcomed today’s announced measures from the ACCC to improve the affordability of entry-level nbn plan, and to ensure that consumers are better compensated for missed nbn appointments.

“The issue of affordable broadband has never been more real for the millions of Australians who have turned to online services this year for access to healthcare, education, work, and government services,” said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin.

“We’re pleased that following the ACCC’s recommendation, NBN Co have agreed to reduce the price of their entry-level access bundle. However, it is disappointing that the ACCC has not recognised that 12/1 Mbps nbn plans are not an adequate entry-level option for most consumers.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has welcomed NBN Co’s decision to extend its Education Assistance offer until 15 January 2021. The targeted offer from NBN Co waives the wholesale costs for many services on the 25/5 Mbps speed tier and encourages telcos to offer free or heavily discounted nbn plans to low-income households with school-aged children.

“The nbn Education Assistance offer has meant that thousands of low-income households have been able to connect to the nbn for the first time,” said ACCAN Director of Policy, Una Lawrence.

“Without the financial assistance from this offer, many struggling households couldn’t afford a fixed home broadband connection. This would leave countless children offline and unable to learn from home during the rolling shutdowns of schools across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has welcomed action by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) against telcos who breached consumer protection rules.

“Telstra, Optus, TPG and Dodo are four of the country’s biggest telcos; they know the rules regarding migrating to the NBN and what they need to do to keep consumers connected. It is very disappointing that they have failed their customers by leaving them without a working internet service,” said ACCAN Director of Policy, Una Lawrence.

New research from the National Youth Commission of Australia (NYC) highlights the need to urgently address internet affordability, according to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

The NYC’s Inquiry into Youth Employment and Transitions Interim Findings Report shows that limited access to technology, insufficient digital literacy and a lack of affordable internet services are limiting opportunities for the nation’s young people.

“The National Youth Commission’s research points to case study after case study that demonstrates the real-life impacts that not being online can have,” said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin.

“Without access to the internet and the digital literacy skills to navigate online, young people are simply unable to engage with government services to get the help they need.”

Ms Corbin said that the COVID-19 pandemic had shone a light on the digital divide.

 The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) thanks the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) for investigating systemic issues affecting small businesses’ communications services.

“A reliable phone and internet service is fundamental for most modern small businesses,” said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin.

“Unfortunately, in the past few years we’ve seen the share of TIO complaints from small businesses continually increase. The TIO’s report helps to identify some of the complex issues that small businesses face when there is a fault with their phone or internet service.”