Left to right: Dorothy Coombe (CWA), Jo Ucukalo (Two Hoots), Jenny Lovric (Legal Aid NSW), Daniel Featherstone (Indigenous Remote Communications Association), Erin Turner (CHOICE), Xavier O'Halloran (ACCAN), George Fong (Internet Australia), Nadia Moffatt (Brain Injury SA).
We welcomed five new consumer representatives at the June meeting of the ACMA’s Consumer Consultative Forum, as well as the new Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, Ms Judi Jones. The new members brought fresh perspectives on consumers’ experiences to share with regulators and industry bodies.
The agenda was full, with updates on nbn’s launch of the Sky Muster service for remote communities, the ACMA’s plans to address difficulties registering with the Do Not Call Register and an overview of the new eSafety Women website established by the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner.
Commissioner Paul Lindwall from the Productivity Commission spoke briefly about the issues paper released in June from the Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation public inquiry.
The Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) presented a paper on third-party charges on consumers’ telephone bills through a practice known as direct carrier billing, with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman observing increases in complaints about these charges. Discussion followed about the nature of direct carrier billing, whether there are similarities with mobile premium services and if planned improvements to carrier practices are likely to improve consumers’ experiences.
Direct carrier billing is an issue we are taking an active interest in. It was valuable to gain insights from consumer representatives on this emerging issue.
The Consumer Consultative Forum in full swing, June 2016.