The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified consumer reliance on telecommunications services. As part of its Consumer Safeguards Review, the Australian Government is examining what framework is required in a “post-2020 environment”, as consumers embrace broadband (fixed and mobile) and increasingly give up their fixed line voice services.
Is self-regulation or direct regulation the best way to ensure consumers make informed choices and are treated fairly by their provider in areas such as customer service, contracts, switching providers, billing and credit/debit management; particularly in the COVID-19 context with issues of financial hardship? What has been Ofcom’s experience in the UK running its ‘Fairness for Customers’ program?
With just under 100 registered participants, this webinar covered discussions on the future of consumer safeguards in an evolving communications environment.
Please click here for further information on the event and speakers.
A recording of the video will be available soon.
Cristina Luna-Esteban is Director of Consumer Policy at Ofcom which she joined in April 2017 with responsibilities for driving forward Ofcom’s customer fairness agenda. During her time in Ofcom, Cristina has been responsible for introducing an automatic compensation scheme for customers when things go wrong with their landline and broadband, one of Ofcom’s key projects for delivering a step change in fairness and quality of service in the telecoms industry. She has also introduced reforms to the switching process in mobile, whereby consumers are now able to switch providers quickly and easily by text and online. Cristina is currently working on issues relating to fairness matters, including the structure of mobile contracts and on introducing a gaining provider led process in fixed services across networks. Previously, Cristina worked at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Office for Fair Trading (OFT) where she directed a range of competition, mergers and consumer projects and started her career in consultancy.
Dr Karen Lee joined the UTS Faculty of Law in June 2019. She is a specialist in communications regulation. Her PhD, for which she received the UNSW Faculty of Law’s PhD Research Excellence Award, involved an in-depth study of the development of three telecommunications consumer codes by working committees of the Communications Alliance – the peak self-regulatory body in the Australian telecommunications sector. Her book The Legitimacy and Responsiveness of Industry Rule-making, which was based on her thesis, was published by Hart Publishing in September 2018. She has also published in the Federal Law Review, the Media and Arts Law Review and the Australian Journal of Competition and Consumer Law; and is a contributor to Australian Telecommunications Regulation, edited by Alasdair Grant and David Howarth, and Telecommunications Law and Regulation, edited by Professor Ian Walden. In 2018, she received a visiting scholar fellowship to the EUI from the Australian European University Institute Fellowship Association. In November 2019, with Dr Derek Wilding, she completed a research project, funded by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, examining consumer and public engagement in industry rule-making in a converged communications environment.
Michael is currently Group Executive Telstra Consumer & Small Business. He joined Telstra in 2016 as Executive Director of Telstra Country Wide with responsibility for over 350 retail stores and over 16,000 partners nationally, and more recently was head of our Consumer & Small Business sales and service channels. Michael joined Telstra from GE, where held the role of CEO GE Healthcare, Australia and New Zealand. In his 12 years at GE, Michael held various executive leadership roles across GE’s Australia and New Zealand business, including financial services, corporate and healthcare divisions. Prior to GE, Michael was Principal at The Boston Consulting Group, where he worked for eight years.
Teresa Corbin is a co-founder of ACCAN, which formed in July 2009. Teresa was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2010. From 1995 Teresa worked in various roles at Consumers’ Telecommunications Network (CTN) and was chief executive officer from 2003-09. Teresa has 20 years’ experience working in telecommunications policy and her community sector links span a 25-year period. In 2015, she was awarded the Charles Todd Medal by the Telecommunications Society for having made an outstanding contribution to Australian telecommunications in recent years.
Derek Wilding is based in the Faculty of Law at University of Technology Sydney where he is the Co-Director of the Centre for Media Transition. He is also President of the Australian Chapter of the IIC.
Dr Wilding has worked in statutory and industry-based regulatory positions, specialising in media and communications regulation. He was Executive Director of the Australian Press Council, manager of media ownership and control at the Australian Communications and Media Authority and Director of the Communications Law Centre at University of New South Wales. He has also worked for the Office of Film and Literature Classification and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.
Dr Wilding is currently a chief investigator on a three-year research project examining media pluralism and online news (funded by the Australian Research Council) and a two-year research project on consumer and public participation in industry rule-making in the communications sector. The Centre for Media Transition is conducting externally-funded research into the impact of digital platforms on news and journalistic content and the state of trust in news media.
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