Robustly protecting telco consumers, ensuring telco network performance, making further spectrum available for 4G mobile broadband, refreshing broadcasting content safeguards and a raft of initiatives to support users in a networked digital world are the centrepiece of the ACMA's current work according to a wide-ranging speech by its Chairman, Chris Chapman.
Mr Chapman told the Communication’s Day Summit that the ACMA is strongly championing a spectrum plan that portends a $30 smartphone handset and potential economic benefits to Australian consumers and the country’s GDP of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mr Chapman says early signs from the ACMA’s renewed telco consumer work are very encouraging, with a 20 per cent drop in complaints. The industry has stopped using confusing terms, such as capped and free, and has added standard charging information to mobile and internet plans. According to Mr Chapman, the majority of large and medium operators have rolled out new easy-to-understand Critical Information Summaries.
‘If you’re a participant in this part of the communications business and think (hope) that the ACMA has run out of energy, better luck in a different sector—the ACMA will continue to track over time the impact of the changes,’ Mr Chapman warns.
However, he says rising complaints about mobile networks’ performance suggests consumer expectations are not being met in that space. He has extended an invitation to the industry and consumer groups to improve transparency of information around performance.
‘The ACMA will hold a mobile network performance summit in late 2013, bringing together industry and consumers to develop solutions which meet consumer needs,’ Mr Chapman says.
The ACMA has also launched an NBN portal to draw together the multiple threads of its work around the NBN Co’s promised benefits from the high-speed broadband network.
Other initiatives highlighted in the speech include:
- ‘First principles’ review to establish what content benchmarks media audiences are looking to safeguard as delivery platforms change.
- The release of a paper, Regulatory strategies for a network economy and society, to better respond to emerging areas of concern around digital content, identity and reputation.
- Research to inform responses to protecting personal data, mobile app issues such as consent, personal and financial risk and privacy, the deployment of cloud computing and new wireless technologies, such as Near Field Communications.
- Modelling to forecast the economic mobile technology impacts of various spectrum supply scenarios.