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Issue No 11: 9 May 2016

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Streamlining of International Mobile Roaming Standard – Good News for Consumers and Industry

Industry has welcomed amendments to the International Mobile Roaming Standards (IMRS) announced today, which will give additional flexibility to Australian customers roaming abroad and will delay the imposition of new regulatory burdens on mobile service providers.

The amendments come as a result of industry associations Communications Alliance and AMTA (Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association) working through the Government’s red- tape reduction program.

Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton said that although the streamlining of the Standard does not go as far as industry sought, it is nonetheless a welcome example of the Government’s commitment to reduce regulatory burden where appropriate.

The amendments follow a direction by the Minister for Communications and the Arts, Senator Mitch Fifield to the industry regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), and recognise that improvements in the roaming marketplace during the past three years have largely overtaken the usefulness of the original Standard.

Under the amended Standard, onerous customer notification requirements that would have been imposed on MVNOs (companies that re-sell mobile services supplied by one of the three mobile network operators) as of this month will now be deferred until 1 January 2019.

Significantly – the entire Standard is due to be reviewed by the ACMA before June 2018.

The amendments also give the mobile carriers and their customers more flexibility in terms of opting out of the use of roaming services, and/or opting out of receiving usage notifications.

“These amendments recognise that the customer protections built into international roaming products have improved dramatically in recent years, as service providers have committed to minimising the chances of customers receiving unexpectedly high bills,” said AMTA CEO, Chris Althaus.

“Products such as data packs and unlimited roaming for a fixed daily fee have changed the face of international roaming and contributed to the halving of roaming-related customer complaints to the industry ombudsman over the past three years.


The Final Frontier

Communications Alliance has provided a submission to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science on the review of the Space Activities Act 1998. In the submission, our members noted that the review is very timely with respect to the Government’s innovation agenda and the opportunities for growth by capitalising on Australia’s capabilities in the space sector.

The Act reflects the Australian industry as it was almost twenty years ago at a time when the focus was on the potential development of launch facilities in Australia. The Australian industry has evolved but not necessarily in the directions that were generally anticipated. Commercial communications satellite operators have a large presence in Australia. There are many critical national interests supported by the satellite sector including earth observation, national security, monitoring weather and climate change, mining and assistance in times of natural disaster. There are many examples of commercial activities in the space sector now that highlight Australia’s potential in this sector.

The submission can be downloaded from the Communications Alliance submissions webpage.


Submission on communications accessibility and the National Relay Service

Communications Alliance and AMTA have developed a joint submission to the Department of Communications and the Arts on the ‘Communications accessibility: 2016 and beyond’ Consultation Paper.

In the submission we note that today’s mainstream communications technologies offer an unprecedented level of accessibility, with both fixed and mobile communications providing not just a means of making phone calls for people living with disability but enabling independent lifestyles, increased workforce participation, educational tools and improved social connection with the wider community.

The submission can be downloaded from the Communications Alliance submissions webpage.


Comment Sought on Technical Instruments to Assist NBN Rollout and Performance

Communications Alliance is seeking public comment on two revised self-regulatory instruments designed to assist the effectiveness of the National Broadband Network.

The first of these is the Fibre Ready Pit And Pipe Specification For Real Estate Development Projects Industry Guideline (DR G645:2016). The Guideline is designed to:

  • outline the minimum standard for Telecommunications pit and pipe installation within Real Estate Development Project to be considered a Fibre Ready Facility;
  • describe recommended processes for the design and installation of pit and pipe facilities for use in a Real Estate Development Project; and
  • describe recommended processes and materials for the design and installation of such pit and pipe facilities.

The Guideline has been revised by Communications Alliance Working Committee 76 on Pit and Pipe Revision to add content on multi-unit and multi-building developments, including super lots.

The public comment period on DR G645:2016 closes at 5.00 p.m. (AEST) on 30 May 2016.

The second document is Requirements for Customer Equipment for connection to a metallic local loop interface of a Telecommunications Network — Part 2: Broadband Australian Standard (DR AS/CA S043.2:2016).

The Standard specifies the requirements for broadband equipment connected to copper wire pairs e.g. DSL modems.

It has been revised by Working Committee 58 on VDSL2 and Vectoring to add requirements for VDSL2 modems to support Upstream Power Backoff (UPBO) Length Estimation Method (based on ITU T Rec. G.993.2).

This adds a requirement to support an electrical estimation of line length, optional in the ITU Recommendation. This will help the NBN achieve better performance (i.e. generally higher data rates or optimised node locations) on vectored systems by having modems more accurately decide on their estimate of the line length when the modem ‘trains up’ with the DSLAM.

The public comment period on DR AS/CA S043.2:2016 closes at 5.00 p.m. (AEST) on 12 July 2016.

Copies of both draft documents are available from the Communications Alliance website at:
www.commsalliance.com.au/documents/public_comment


WMC Global Pty Ltd

www.wmcglobal.com

WMC-Global

WMC Global is a market intelligence company delivering insight into the in-market consumer experience, combining software-driven data analysis and enterprise consulting expertise to help digital services providers support healthy businesses and compliant marketplaces.

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