Digital technologies are transforming how we interact as a community and how businesses and governments operate. Communications services are essential for everyday living and a primary means of accessing information, employment, markets and key services. Affordable communications services are critical for digital inclusion but assessing what is 'affordable' is complex due to diversity of Australian experiences and wants.
The Bureau of Communications, Arts and Regional Research (BCARR) have released two papers to date, creating measures that monitor and report on the affordability of communications services.
The initial working paper 'Trends and drivers in the affordability of communications services for Australian households' (2017) builds on analysis from the Productivity Commission's Telecommunications inquiry and Universal Service Obligation inquiry to assess trends in household expenditure, pricing and inclusions for broadband and mobile services.
The second working paper, 'Affordability of communications services for low income households' (2020) updated market trends from the initial paper and created data use case studies to estimate basic data needs.
Looking to the future, strong consumer demand for communications services is anticipated to continue. The outlook for affordability will depend on a number of factors including regulatory settings, competitive pressures and broader income growth.