Issue No 10: 7 May 2019



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Broadband Monitoring Shows Continued Improvement

Communications Alliance welcomes the further improvements in the fixed-line broadband speeds being delivered to Australian consumers, as demonstrated by the ACCC’s Measuring Broadband Australia report, released today.

The reporting program – now in its fifth iteration - has shown consistently strong performances by Australia’s major ISPs. The ACCC report also found that most RSPs are delivering broadband speeds that meet or exceed the promises made in their advertising.

“The positive performance against advertised speeds has been consistently demonstrated by the ACCC’s data over the previous four reports, and we welcome the ACCC’s inclusion of this important metric in today’s report,” said Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton.

Communications Alliance noted that the reporting of performance against advertised speeds would be improved if it took account of the existence of underperforming lines, the inclusion of which depressed the results of some providers.

Stanton also said “we are pleased to see that consumers are receiving further improvements in speeds delivered. All elements of the broadband supply chain are committed to working together to continue this trend.”

Communications Alliance Submission to the ACMA Consultation Paper ESIM in Ku Band

The Communications Alliance Satellite Services Working Group (SSWG) has made a submission to the ACMA Consultation Paper Earth stations in motion in Ku band – Regulatory status and proposed updates to administrative licence procedures for space and space receive apparatus licences.
The SSWG commends the ACMA on the timely review of national regulatory arrangements in order to make way for the further introduction of earth stations in motion (ESIM) into Australia.

The submission makes the following general remarks:

  • While the ACMA has chosen a two-step approach to Ku-Band (first consultation on the 11.7-12.75 GHz band, followed by a second consultation on the 14-14.5 GHz band), the SSWG advocates for the resulting or amended instrument(s) to be accomplished at the same time.
  • With regards to fixed-satellite services (FSS) and the traditional regulatory treatment of fixed earth stations, a key feature of considering ESIM is the requirement of the services to remain within the envelope of operations of the FSS in which ESIM operate. Another very relevant feature of ESIM in other bands so far has been the acceptance that ESIM receive stations shall not claim protection from terrestrial services, where these services are allowed on a primary basis. There is reason to expect this condition would be suitable in 10.7-11.7 GHz band because of the ubiquitous nature of ESIM terminals. Furthermore, ESIM that will operate in this band would be receiving and not transmitting, thus will not cause interference to licensed fixed links. The ITU has addressed this situation, and in similar cases has agreed that the ESIM cannot claim protection from authorised fixed services. The ACMA may wish to take this into account as well as the CEPT decisions in their further work regarding ESIM operations in the 10.7-11.7 GHz band.
  • The current consultation is silent on the question of spectrum pricing. The cost of spectrum, however, remains a high barrier to entry for ESIM in general in Australia – more so than in many other jurisdictions. The SSWG is of the opinion that the ACMA should give due attention to the subject of pricing, either in parallel with the current consultations or shortly thereafter.

For more details on the SSWG’s views on the current national arrangements and future work required in this area, please refer to the submission on our website.

Communications Alliance Submission to the Review of Model Defamation Provisions

Communications Alliance has made a submission to the Council of Attorneys-General Discussion Paper Review of Model Defamation Provisions.
The submission reiterates a number of points raised during an earlier review of the Defamation Provisions and makes a number of suggestions, including:

  • The Model Defamation Provisions, and consequently existing law, should be amended to provide that merely indexing defamatory matter or facilitating its dissemination (such as occurs when a search result is generated automatically by a search engine, and when content is transmitted via a communication conduit such as an Internet Service Provider (ISP)), does not amount to publication of the defamatory matter, irrespective of whether the intermediary has knowledge of the defamatory content.
  • In addition, the Provisions should be amended to protect content hosts, which simply act as platforms, and do not play a part in creating or publishing the hosted content.
  • In the event that an online intermediary is, prima facie, liable as a publisher of defamatory content, the Provisions ought to contain a safe harbour that provides certainty to both defamed person(s) and online intermediaries.
  • The Provisions should be amended to provide for a single publication rule.
  • The Provisions should be amended to provide that a matter the subject of complaint is not defamatory unless its publication has caused or is likely to cause substantial harm to the reputation of the plaintiff.

For further details, including on the working of a safe harbour, please refer to submission on our website.

QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads Digital Wallet Pilot

The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) is developing a Digital Wallet to allow Queenslanders to store Government issued credentials and products securely on their mobile phone. The first products to be trialled will be Photo ID cards, Learner and Provisional Driver Licences and Recreational Marine Licences.

The Digital Wallet will be piloted in Maryborough and Hervey Bay in the second half of 2019. In preparation TMR would like to talk to businesses about how they use these credentials. This will help to ensure that TMR is as inclusive as possible and design a solution that meets customers’ needs.

To assist this, the TMR research provider will be recruiting a range of businesses that currently utilise credentials (for example sighting, copying or scanning a driver licence or Photo ID card prior to conducting a transaction). To ensure an impartial and confidential approach TMR will utilise a third-party recruitment agency to secure candidates for research. As such, some of Communications Alliance’s members may be contacted in this regard.

Initial research will be conducted throughout May, however there will be a range of iterative and on-going research activities through to October.

TMR will also be engaging regularly with stakeholders in the Fraser Coast region in the leadup to the pilot, with information packs, training materials and face-to-face visits to ensure the community and all stakeholder groups are ready for the pilot. TMR will be in contact with Communications Alliance again in the coming months to provide more information about the pilot, and resources that can be distributed to Communications Alliance members in the pilot region.

Communications Alliance members who would like to receive further information about this project please email: CORAL@tmr.qld.gov.au or visit tmr.qld.gov.au/digitalwallet.

Accessible Telecoms Project

Accessible Telecoms is a nation-wide disability telecommunications service developed by ACCAN and funded by the NDIA. The service provides up-to-date information about more than 300 phones, tablets, and accessories with accessibility features useful for people with disability.

It is an excellent resource, and since its launch in December the service has had more than 14,000 unique visits to the website.

The Accessible Telecoms project also provides information about device training and set-up opportunities to assist consumers use their telecommunications confidently and safely.

Communications Alliance encourages providers to visit the project, learn more about it, and alert customers with disabilities to this resource.

The site can be found here: http://www.ideas.org.au/telecom/search

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