Issue No 10: 12 April 2017



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Regulatory Restraint Needed on Eve of Data Retention Deadline

The Federal Government must exercise regulatory restraint as telecommunications service providers scramble to meet 13 April 2017 deadline to fully comply with the mandatory two-year Data Retention regime.

Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton the complexity of the compliance task – combined with lengthy delays by Government in distributing grants to subsidise the cost of new systems – meant that many service providers had faced challenges in meeting the deadline.

The apportionment of the $128.4 million in grants to industry under the Data Retention Industry Grants Program (DRIGP) was not finalised until September 2016 – 18 months after the Data Retention legislation was passed by Federal Parliament.

Mr Stanton said that service providers then faced additional delays while completing grant agreements, before actually receiving funds.

“The resulting timeframe put many service providers under immense pressure to complete the work to enable them to comply with this onerous regime within the deadline.

“The Government should acknowledge that these delays have made timely compliance more difficult to achieve.

“The Attorney-General’s Department has been writing to service providers to remind them that they must be fully compliant by tomorrow.

“The Attorney-General should publicly commit that no action will be taken post-deadline, against any service provider that is genuinely working to comply with the regime, but has been disadvantaged by the slow pace of decision-making.“

“Government should focus in the short term on a cooperative approach to helping service providers meet their compliance obligation – rather than purely on enforcement. This should extend also to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (the ‘Privacy Commissioner’) which will be monitoring compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles.” 

Care needed to Avoid Anti-Competitive Effects from Broadband Monitoring Regime

The Federal Government and ACCC must work to guard against potential anti-competitive outcomes from the just-announced broadband monitoring program, Communications Alliance warned today.

Smaller internet service providers, whose performance will not be included in the program, are worried that they will lose customers to service providers that are included, because of the attention that will be focused on the published data.

“Although the ACCC has told industry today that it doesn’t yet know how many service providers will be included in the regime, it has previously indicated that it expects this will be limited to something like the five largest players,” said Communications Alliance
CEO John Stanton.

“Smaller ISPs are worried that being out of the limelight of the published results will cost them customers and damage their businesses,

“The regulator, which exists to promote competition, needs to ensure that it does not engineer the opposite outcome.”

“The ACCC has a dilemma. It can include more ISPs but at the expense of sample sizes and therefore also at the expense of the accuracy and reliability of the published data. Or it can restrict the number of ISPs and risk hurting the smaller players in the market. Or it can blow out the costs of its regime and pile further expense on to consumers.”

“The ACCC has made no mention of further consultation with industry about the implementation of the regime – something that industry sees as vital if the regime is to provide accurate information and hope to meet its stated objectives.”

Mr Stanton welcomed the decision to focus the monitoring regime on next-generation broadband services, rather than on legacy technologies such as ADSL.

He urged the ACCC to provide further clarity about the relationship between the broadband monitoring regime and the broadband speed claims industry guidance that the regulator is also developing.

The speed claims draft guidance urges all ISPs to run their own quarterly sampling program, looking at busy-hour speed performance.

In a Communications Alliance submission to be lodged with the ACCC today, industry has expressed concern that the methodology proposed by the regulator will not produce
results that represent the typical service performance experienced by consumers.

Communications Alliance submission to ACCC Broadband Speed Claims Information Request

Communications Alliance has made a submission in response to the ACCC’s Broadband Speed Claims Information Request.

In its submission, Communications Alliance noted that while Industry broadly supports the ACCC’s Speed Claim Principles, the more detailed guidance that underlies the Principles is in need of further consultation and work.

Industry highlighted concerns with the methodology proposed for calculation and representation of ‘typical speeds,’ with an emphasis on further consultation to develop a statistically robust methodology with meaningful outputs for consumers.

Communications Alliance call for comments on C564:2011 Mobile Base Station Deployment Industry Code

Communications Alliance is seeking comments for a scheduled review of the C564:2011 Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment Industry Code

This review aims to identify whether a need exists to amend, reconfirm or withdraw this Code. The Code was last revised in 2011.

C564:2011 specifies the best contemporary practices in the areas of design, installation and operation of mobile phone radiocommunications infrastructure. The Code requires the application of a precautionary approach to the deployment of mobile phone radiocommunications infrastructure and contains obligations on carriers to consult.

The aims of the review are to identify:
  • any existing issues with the Code;
  • whether any process improvement is required, from operational experience in dealing with the Code;
  • any gaps in the Code;
  • clarifications that improve requirements;
  • whether the document is meeting the needs of industry and the community satisfactorily; and
  • expected impact of technology changes.
The Code can be downloaded here.  You can use the Submit Comments form to submit your comments via email.

CeBIT 2017

When: 23 – 25 May 2017
Where: International Convention Centre Sydney, Darling Harbour, Sydney

CeBIT Australia is Australasia’s largest business technology event, and in 2017 it will be taking place in the brand new International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour Sydney.

This year’s program features conferences covering the latest in Big Data and Analytics, Cybersecurity, Cloud Technology, FinTech, Enterprise Mobility, Digital Health and eGovernment.

Receive $100 off our 3 Day Conference Pass or a 1 Day Conference Pass with the promo code CA17.

View the program here or register here

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