In understanding commonalities between minority groups in relation to access and affordability, the paper argues that these can no longer be considered ‘minority’ issues as they affect a significant proportion of the Australian population. Rather, affordability needs to be framed as part of a wider discussion about access and accessibility. Furthermore, notions of access and accessibility should be emphasised and clearly distinguished from mere availability.
Affordability is an important and recurrent issue in telecommunications and the digital economy. this paper considers the current policy impasse, analyses leading directions, and argues for the importance of arriving at a new and unified approach to affordability.
One of the central goals of ACCAN’s 2013 Affordability Roundtable was to kick-start a broader discussion around affordability of telecommunications products and services, encouraging new and innovative social programs and industry-wide models which can be employed to alleviate the affordability divide. This paper is intended as a continuation of that broader discussion and builds upon the ideas first developed in the article Improving Affordability of Communications: Research and Policy Directions published in the ATJDE in 2013.