ACMA fast-tracks replanning for 26GHz band

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has fast-tracked work on the 26GHz band and released an options paper in September 2018.

The ACMA is seeking feedback on:

  • what should be allocated, in terms of specific frequencies and proposed geographic license areas; and
  • how the band should be allocated, in terms of which licence types should be adopted in the band to meet a range of potentially varying wireless broadband use cases.

The ACMA is also convening a working group of interested stakeholders to consider the issue associated with frequency boundaries and associated coexistence, which will run in parallel with the consultation period for the options paper.

The working group is due to deliver its report on or before 24 October 2018. Submissions to the options paper are due on 2 November 2018.

Parliamentary Committee sets public hearing date for Assistance and Access Bill

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security held public hearings for the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 (Assistance and Access Bill) on 19 October 2018. Further public hearings will be scheduled for late October or early November 2018.

The Assistance and Access Bill was introduced into Parliament on 20 September 2018 and referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (the Committee) for inquiry and report. Submissions to the Assistance and Access Bill closed on 12 October 2018.

Further information is available here.

ACMA rules regarding NBN compliance now in force

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) rules regarding NBN compliance took effect from 21 September 2018. It requires, amongst other rules, that NBN Co's consumer information standard ensure consumers are given all the necessary information to make informed choices about the NBN service and plan that is right for them.

The rules are directly enforceable by the ACMA and, where breaches are found, allow it to commence court proceedings seeking remedies such as injunctions and civil penalties of up to $10 million.

"Formal investigations into a number of providers are ongoing and we will publish a report on these once finalised," ACMA Chair Nerida O'Loughlin said.

TSSR comes into effect

The Telecommunications Sector Security Reforms (TSSR) took effect from 18 September 2018.

The TSSR compels carriers and nominated carriage service providers to notify government of proposed changes that could compromise the security of networks and systems, including a requirement to maintain ‘competent supervision’ and ‘effective control’ over telecommunications networks and facilities owned or operated by them.

“The Reforms create new security obligations for all carriers, carriage service providers and carriage service intermediaries providing services in Australia,” said the Department of Home Affairs’ Telecommunications Security Section Critical Infrastructure Centre in a brief note.

ACMA imposes large penalty for do not call infringement<

Telemarketing company Lead My Way has paid an infringement notice of $285,600 after the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation found that the business made telemarketing calls to numbers on the Do Not Call Register.

Lead My Way makes ‘lead generation’ telemarketing calls to consumers to gauge their interest in products and services, such as electricity, and then on-sells personal details as marketing ‘leads’. The business was found to have made telemarketing calls to numbers on the Do Not Call Register and had failed to check all numbers it called against the register.

"Lead generators are on notice that the ACMA will take strong action against telemarketers that break the rules," ACMA acting chair Creina Chapman said.

Aussie Broadband removes marketing claims following ACCC ruling

National Broadband Network (NBN) provider Aussie Broadband has removed broadband marketing claims following an administrative ruling from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Since July 2017, Aussie Broadband claimed that it offered a “congestion free NBN” and a “congestion-free network” across several platforms such as its website, Facebook, targeted emails and direct mail-out letters.

“We were concerned that Aussie Broadband’s statements might lead consumers to believe that Aussie Broadband’s services would not ever experience congestion, when that was not the case,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

Further information is available here.

ACCC accepts a voluntary undertaking from NBN Co

On 11 September 2018, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) accepted a court enforceable voluntary undertaking from NBN Co to improve its wholesale arrangements with retail service providers within three months.

NBN Co has undertaken to pay retail service providers $25 for every missed appointment, late connection or fault rectification. The undertaking is part of the ACCC’s inquiry into NBN wholesale service standards which was announced in late 2017 to determine whether the standards are appropriate and necessary in improving customer experiences.

"The undertaking will improve the rebates that NBN Co pays to retail service providers for not meeting its service level timeframes for connections, fixing faults and meeting scheduled appointments," ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

Further information is available here.

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