90% of Australians think telecom operators should offer affordable internet plans

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As Australian households increasingly feel the impact of the rising cost of living, a new survey conducted in April by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) found that 90% of Australians believe that carriers telecom companies should offer an affordable internet package as standard so everyone can stay connected.

A nationally representative survey of nearly 1,000 Australians by the leading communications consumer body also found that over 80% (82%) consider a home internet connection essential. Meanwhile, more than a quarter (27%) say their phone and internet costs are unaffordable.

“We know that much of our daily personal and professional lives now depend on access to reliable and affordable Internet service. In 2022, having an internet connection at home is as essential as electricity and is no longer a luxury,” said ACCAN CEO Andrew Williams.

These research findings come at a time when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is under pressure from ACCAN and retail service providers to reject NBN’s latest proposal to change its commitment to special access (SAU) due to price concerns.

ACCAN’s research also found that more than half (53%) of Australians pay between $50 and $99 a month to stay connected to their home broadband service.

“For some households, this is an extraordinary but necessary cost,” Mr Williams explained.

“Without access to home internet service, children may find it difficult to do their homework online after school, and families may find it extremely difficult to access online services such as telehealth, banking and important government services to name a few.”

To address the issue of affordability of home Internet services, ACCAN would like to see the federal government introduce a comprehensive review of the rules governing telecommunications affordability. Currently, only Telstra is required to offer products and arrangements to low-income customers under its operator license terms. If this obligation were extended to all telecommunications operators, consumers would have a greater choice of affordable entry-level home broadband services.

ACCAN is also advocating for NBN Co to offer a broadband product on preferential terms to households on income support.

“If Australia is to be a leading digital economy and society by 2030, at a minimum we need to ensure that all households are able to afford what they need to connect and stay connected,” Mr. Williams said.

The snapshot can be viewed in full here

ACCAN will publish further results of this research in the coming weeks.

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author or authors. See in full here.
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