Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is ready to work on changes required to improve telecommunications in regional Australia.
The organisation has come out in support of the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee, which recently issued a report for better regional telecommunications.
Titled the Regional Telecommunications Review 2015 report, it outlined positive recommendations to achieve better communications services in regional areas including improvements in fixed broadband capability following nbn’s rollout and mobile network investments.
ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin, said the report identified that fundamental changes are required in the industry. This will require a multi-stakeholder, cross party and industry collaboration.
“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,” she said.
Corbin said, in particular, ACCAN welcomed the recommended changes to the current consumer safeguards, which the report notes are “increasingly irrelevant”.
It 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,” Corbin said.
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 claimed ACCAN will continue to make representations on the accessibility and affordability of services. 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.
“We are looking forward to continuing our work for better communications services for these consumer groups,” Corbin said.