Monday, 26 October 2015 00:10

ACCAN welcomes telco review, but way to go on much needed changes

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ACCAN welcomes telco review, but way to go on much needed changes Image courtesy of marcolm, freedigitalphotos.net/images

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has welcomed the Regional Telecommunications Review Report released by the federal government, in particular the recommended changes to the current consumer safeguards, which the report notes are “increasingly irrelevant.”

The ACCAN says it is ready to work on changes required to improve telecommunications in regional Australia, observing that the report presents many “positive recommendations” to achieve better communications services in regional areas.

“The report has identified that fundamental changes are required in the industry which will require a multi-stakeholder, cross party and industry collaboration,” said the ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin.

“It is vital for regional consumers that action results from this report and its recommendations. ACCAN is calling on the government to prioritise its response to the report. We look forward to working with government and industry to realise these recommendations.”

The report urges the Federal Government to work with industry and consumer groups to develop a new Consumer Communication Standard for voice and data which sets technology neutral standards in terms of availability, accessibility, affordability, performance and reliability.

“These are priority areas for ACCAN. We are already working on a consumer white paper looking at the future of the Universal Service Obligation (USO), and a new consumer guarantee fit for the future telecommunications environment.”

The ACCAN’s submission to the review focused on improvements to consumer safeguards to meet the needs of regional consumers, how the NBN rollout can best deliver for regional consumers, and how the NBN and Mobile Black Spot Programme can be complemented by additional infrastructure policies to address remaining issues in regional Australia.

Corbin welcomed the report’s recommendation that ACCAN continue to make representations on the accessibility and affordability of services, pointing out that ACCAN’s core work is focused on better communications for all Australians, but particularly to represent those consumers who are currently the most poorly served.

“ACCAN’s membership includes a number of regional and remote organisations and individuals, as well as a number of smaller organisations such as local agricultural bureaus and community groups. We are looking forward to continuing our work for better communications services for these consumer groups.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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