ACA Telecommunications Consumer Awareness and Information Needs Survey, Financial Year 2000/2001 -->
C. Alternative Sources of Data
C1 Alternative sources
What alternative sources of data are available and what use is made of them? (C1)
Note. Should include surveys conducted during the previous two years that collect similar data, other sources apart from surveys, and Commonwealth, State Government and private sector sources.
The survey is undertaken annually to meet corporate objectives and legislative functions. The survey targets specific issues relevant to the ACA’s functions and powers as well as aiming to probe awareness of general competition issues and consumer attitudes/motivations.
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This research may be impacted upon by other ACA research conducted for specific campaigns. Where other ACA research data exists and is relevant to consumer awareness/information needs, it is utilised.
The ACA also utilises other external research/survey work where it is publicly available (eg. relevant ABS surveys) but is not aware of research/survey work that has been undertaken by communications carriers and service providers. Other data sources are utilised/examined where possible but are not the primary data source for determining the focus of the ACA’s information campaigns and strategies. Other data sources of relevance to the ACA include research undertaken by the Office of Telecommunications (OFTEL) in the UK. OFTEL undertakes a number of surveys on residential and small business use of telecommunications, which are compared against the ACA’s own data.
The ACA is also required by legislation to report annually on the performance of the industry. Some of the data obtained from this consumer awareness survey and further survey work by the ACA on consumer satisfaction is utilised for this report. This report also sources a large range of data from industry - it is used by the ACA to the extent that the performance report data is relevant/useful to meeting corporate objectives (eg. providing information to consumers) in addition to its legislative reporting obligation, for which it is primarily sought.
In what respects are these alternative sources insufficient? (C2)
As indicated above, the ACA has specific legislative functions and its own corporate objectives, which include providing information to the public about telecommunications and radio communications issues and ensuring that the Australian community is well-informed about telecommunications matters. These issues and the methods for providing information are partly determined by the ACA’s consumer awareness research. Industry research (ie. conducted by telecommunications carriers and service providers) is not widely available and in any case would arguably be ill-suited to the ACA’s needs where conducted for those companies’ own marketing purposes. OFTEL research (and other overseas research) is useful for comparative purposes but cannot be utilised as a primary data source because it is specific to the UK (or other country), which operates under its own distinct telecommunications regulatory environment.
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C3 Joint data with other agencies
What consideration has been given to working with other agencies or organisations to make their data more suited to your needs? (C3)
Other research data is utilised where possible but as outlined above, is not relied upon as a primary data source due to the fact that it may not be related to the ACA’s functions and legislative responsibilities. Where possible, the ACA utilises its contacts within the telecommunications industry to obtain data that may be collected by other organisations and liaises with the industry about our role and data needs. In particular, the ACA has a close relationship with the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, which is kept informed of the ACA’s data needs and proposals for meeting those needs.
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