Issue No 27: 19 December 2016



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Communications Alliance and AMTA submission to the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report Data Availability and Use

Communications Alliance and AMTA provided a submission to the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report Data Availability and Use.

Overall, the Associations are broadly supportive of the Commission’s Draft Report and the over-arching aim to increase the availability and use of data in Australia.

However, the submission makes a number of observations for consideration by the Commission, including around the following issues:

  • The definition of Consumer Data and its relationship to the definition of Personal Information in the Privacy Act 1988, including in the context of metadata, require further thought. The submission argues that data generated in the course of network and traffic management, operations and data about the use of devices generated in the course of the provision of a telecommunications service is proprietary information and ought not to fall under the definition of Consumer Data.
  • The envisaged definition of Consumer Data is very open-ended and lacking a time dimension. The submission also notes that there is no sufficient consensus as to what de-identification entails and the various methods available to transform data to remove identifiable elements. Consequently, the Associations strongly suggest that minimum standards be developed to guard against transformed data being linked back to a consumer.
  • The suggested definition of the Comprehensive Right, including the right to transfer data to competitors, and the definition of Consumer Data work together to create serious disincentives to innovation and value creation through proprietary data analytics and manipulation. The submission requests that value-added data, including network, traffic management and operations data, be excluded from the definition of Consumer Data.
  • The Associations argue that some best practice principles, e.g. a thorough cost-benefit analysis as well as clear, evidence based rules, have not received adequate consideration. This is particularly relevant in the context of the Comprehensive Right which includes the right to access and transfer data. It appears that insufficient consideration has been given as to whether such a universal right is actually useful across all sectors and kinds of data, i.e. it is questionable whether those rights are of sufficient benefit to consumers and outweigh the significant costs, including costs arising from reduced competition and innovation, that are associated with this right.

Submission on the future use of the 1.5 GHz and 3.6 GHz spectrum bands

The Satellite Service Working Group (SSWG) has provided a response to the ACMA Future use of the 1.5 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands - Initial investigation of the 1427–1518 MHz and 3575–3700 MHz bands for mobile broadband services Discussion Paper.

Communications Alliance has worked closely with the ACMA in recent years, reviewing various spectrum bands and more recently the Spectrum Review and the Mobile Broadband Strategy, acknowledging the considerable work by the regulator and industry in getting discussions to this stage. In recognising the role of the ACMA in its functions of spectrum planning for Australia and managing this limited resource, the SSWG has provided industry feedback on the approach outlined by the ACMA.

The SSWG has suggested that there should be a recalibration of how radio access technologies are assessed to support the next generation of connectivity with the advent of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition, it was pointed out that in applying the principle of allocating spectrum to the highest-value needs, both the social and economic value of incumbent users in these bands needs to be recognised, weighed and accommodated. The SSWG has also recommended that the proposed replanning timetable should be revisited, along with some of the underlying assumptions and to draw attention to some of the technical arguments which would benefit from further consideration.

The views of the SSWG do not necessarily represent the views of all CA members, as is stated in the submission.

The submission is available from the Communications Alliance submissions page.

Season’s greetings and best wishes for the New Year


This is the last issue of We Communicate for 2016. Thank you to all our members for your support, guidance and contributions to our work during 2016.

We look forward to another creative, constructive and successful year of working together and in your service.

The Communications Alliance office will be closed from 25 December 2016 and will reopen on Tuesday 3 January 2017.

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ContactTel: (61) 2 9959 9111