Ninety percent of Australians think that telcos should provide an affordable internet plan as standard so that everyone can remain connected, according to new research conducted by the ACCAN last April.
The new research comes as households feel the pinch of higher costs of living.
More than 80% view home internet connection as essential. More than a quarter (27%) say their phone and internet costs are unaffordable.
“We know that so much of our everyday personal and professional lives now depend on having access to a reliable, affordable internet service. In 2022, having a home internet connection is as essential as electricity and is no longer a luxury,” said ACCAN CEO Andrew Williams.
The findings come timely as NBN Co withdrew its Special Access Undertaking lodged with the ACCC and will submit a new variation proposal after consultation with the telco industry.
More than half (53%) of Australians are paying between $50-$99 per month to stay connected to their home broadband service.
“For some households, this is an extraordinary but necessary cost,” said Williams.
“Without access to a home internet service, children can struggle to complete homework online after school, and families can find it extremely difficult to access online services such as telehealth, banking, and important government services to name just a few.”
ACCAN is urging the Federal Government to introduce a comprehensive review of the rules governing telecommunications affordability.
Only Telstra is required to offer products and arrangements to low-income customers under its Carrier License Conditions.
If all telcos are obliged like Telstra, consumers would have better options of affording entry-level home broadband services, ACCAN claims.
ACCAN is also advocating for NBN Co to offer a concessional broadband product for households on income support.
“If Australia is to be a leading digital economy and society by 2030, at a minimum we need to make sure that all households are able to afford what’s needed to get them online and stay connected,” concluded Williams.
This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on July 29, 2022.
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