We take a look back at some of our highlights for communications in 2018.
17 December 2018
This year we helped improve online safety for all Australians, embarked on a review of consumer safeguards, supported the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review and continued to deliver better connectivity and access across Australia.
Landmark legislation to protect Australians online
We developed new laws to address image-based abuse and worked with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to introduce a new civil penalties regime, imposing serious penalties for offenders who share intimate images without consent
Stronger safeguards for consumers
We are more than half way through our review of Australia's telecommunications consumer safeguards, to determine what protections will be needed into the future. We completed Part A, and its report includes 32 recommendations to strengthen redress and complaints handling for consumers, which we are now working with stakeholders to implement. We are also working on Part B of the review, looking at the reliability of telecommunications services. We will complete Part C, examining choice and fairness in the retail relationship between consumers and providers, in 2019.
Reviewing regional telecommunications
We supported the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee and in doing so held 22 face-to-face consultations around the country to hear firsthand how Australians living in regional, rural and remote locations use telecommunication services. The Committee received 380 submissions and delivered its report to Government in September, making 10 recommendations to improve regional connectivity. The Government is now considering the findings and will respond early next year.
A forward focus on copyright
We delivered new laws to protect the disability, educational and cultural sectors when they engage with online copyright material, helping around 9500 schools and 41 universities to provide digital services. New copyright duration rules will also come into effect from 1 January 2019, which will simplify and harmonise terms of copyright protection. We're also consulting closely with industry and communities on options to modernise Australia's 50 year old copyright laws for today's digital environment.
Improved mobile coverage across Australia
The first three rounds of the Government's highly successful $220 million Mobile Black Spot Program is nearing completion, with more than 640 new mobile base stations now live and on air, helping to keep people in regional and remote communities connected.
The application process for a fourth round of the program is now underway, with $25 million committed to deliver more coverage across Australia.
Better connections for homes and businesses
The NBN is on track for completion in 2020. This year we reached over 4.6 million activations on the National Broadband Network (NBN). More than 86 per cent of homes and businesses in metro areas and 98 per cent in regional areas can now order an NBN high-speed service or have network construction underway. We also worked with the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to improve NBN consumer experience, ensuring the majority of customers are now connected within NBN Co's timeframes and have their equipment installed right the first time.
A vision for reconciliation
We launched our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2018 to help us realise our vision for reconciliation. Our RAP provides practical plans for action on how we will contribute to reconciliation in the workplace and the communities in which we operate.