Issue No 5: 23 February 2022
Telco Service Providers Helping Customers in Financial Hardship
Communications Alliance has welcomed the strongly positive results of a new study by the industry regulator, showing a steep fall in the number of telco consumers entering financial hardship arrangements with their service providers.
The report, released this week by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), showed a decline in the number of financial hardship customers over the most recent financial year, ending with 3.57 per 10,000 customers in June 2021. This number fell more than 50 per cent from a peak of 7.64 in June 2020.
The report also showed that more customers started with lower levels of debt compared to 2019–20.
For small business financial hardship customers, 48 per cent started with less than $500 debt, compared with 22 per cent the year before. For residential financial hardship customers, 62 per cent started with less than $500, compared with 48 per cent the year before.
The overall proportion of residential customers in a financial hardship arrangement who successfully exited that arrangement rose to 63 per cent in 2020-21, up from 47 per cent the previous year.
Comms Alliance CEO, John Stanton said the pleasing results pointed to a stronger focus by the industry on protecting vulnerable customers, including those under financial pressure.
The industry has had in place since early 2020 a set of COVID Operating Principles, which include a heavy emphasis on helping customs in financial hardship and ensuring they can stay connected.
“I congratulate all the service providers that have contributed to this strong result – their efforts have directly assisted many customers in tough circumstances during troubled times. It’ s good outcome,” Mr Stanton said.
Submission in Response to the Reform of Australia’s Electronic Surveillance Framework Discussion Paper
Communications Alliance has made a submission in response to the Department of Home Affairs Reform of Australia’s electronic surveillance framework Discussion Paper.
Our submission supports the review of the surveillance framework and recognises the opportunities it offers for harmonisation, clarification, consolidation and updating of various pieces of legislation that currently form Australia’s electronic surveillance framework.
However, we also raise concern that the proposals put forward in the Discussion Paper do not, as suggested, bring less regulatory burden for our industry but rather would result in substantially more regulatory impost due to a substantially increased scope of data to be retained, both in terms of the data sets as well as of the providers in scope of the framework. We are also concerned with what appears to be a lack of recognition of the potency of so-called non-content (metadata), especially at scale and when collected over time and analysed with algorithmic means, in the context of a future oversight regime.
Below is a list of currently open telecommunications-related consultations being conducted by Government and other organisations that provide an opportunity for you to have your say.