INDUSTRY REJECTS CALLS TO PROVIDE GOVERNMENT WITH FREE EMERGENCY ALERTS

Sydney, 12 December 2018: Communications Alliance today welcomed a discussion about the respective roles and responsibilities in relation to emergency services but rejected calls from the Queensland Government for mobile carriers to provide emergency alerts without compensation.

“Mobile carriers are very conscious about their responsibilities during an emergency and they spend a lot of resources to provide Government and the community with a range of vital and complex technologies that facilitate various emergency-related features, including emergency alerts”, commented Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton.

“These technologies are far from simple and are subject to commercial arrangements between Government and the mobile carriers. Upon Government’s request, mobile carriers have put in place the sophisticated technology to be able to prioritise and deliver alerts across mobile and fixed networks with millions of messages sent across Australia each year. At its inception in 2009, Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments decided that those services would be provided on a national basis with fees charged to Government but no direct fees payable by the recipients of emergency alerts. In line with those agreements, mobile operators ought to be compensated for the services they provide.

“Mobile operators have a strong track record of assisting the victims of natural disasters in a number of ways, including through giving free handsets to those whose devices have been destroyed and providing assistance with the costs of staying connected. Mobile operators are also using special ‘cells on wheels’ in areas where mobile infrastructure has been destroyed to boost connectivity during such critical times.

“Our industry will continue to ensure that Australians benefit from state-of-the-art emergency systems. For example, work is underway to further improve location accuracy for emergency calls to allow emergency crews to have access to more detailed information about where a person in need may be located. And of course, mobile carriers continue to provide emergency calls without compensation and free of charge to the caller,” concluded Mr Stanton.

ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE
Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the  communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet  service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.

The most influential association in Australian communications, co-operatively initiating programs that promote sustainable industry development, innovation and growth, while generating positive outcomes for customers and society.  To create a co-operative stakeholder environment that allows the industry to take the lead on initiatives which grow the Australian communications industry, enhance the connectivity of all Australians and foster the highest standards of business behaviour.  For more details about Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.

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Sefiani
Neeley Williams nwilliams@sefiani.com.au
0434 742 551