Streamlining equipment supply arrangements | ACMA

Streamlining equipment supply arrangements

Business costs for supplying telecommunications equipment should be materially reduced under regulatory changes introduced by the Australian Communications Media Authority.

The ACMA has amended the rules for the supply in Australia of telecommunications customer equipment and customer cabling. The rules apply to businesses supplying telecommunications equipment such as telephones, modems, tablets and in-home telecommunications wiring.

The regulatory rules had required businesses to hold records demonstrating that the equipment complies with minimum technical standards, including safety requirements.

The recently introduced changes include reducing record-keeping requirements for mobile equipment that is not intended to make voice calls, increasing the flexibility for suppliers to rely on overseas compliance documentation and improving the overall simplicity of the rules. These changes are consistent with the growth of global supply models for mobile equipment, including non-telephony equipment such as tablets.

‘The updated regulations continue to protect consumers while ensuring that equipment and cabling meet minimum technical requirements,’ said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman.

‘The new rules follow an exhaustive consultation process with industry,’ he added.

While the ACMA had floated the option of removing the rules completely and moving to an industry-managed scheme, industry submissions supported the retention of regulation in this area. This is because regulation is still seen by industry as the most appropriate means of managing consumer and operational risks associated with the supply and connection of customer equipment to telecommunications networks.

The rules commenced on 25 February, with a two year phase-in period. The ACMA will continue to work with the telecommunications industry peak body Communications Alliance (CA) and other industry parties to ensure that appropriate technical standards are in place to manage risks associated with new and emerging technologies, while minimising regulatory burden.

For more information, please see the Backgrounder below, or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au.

Media release 9/2015 - 26 February

Backgrounder

The ACMA regulates the supply and connection of telecommunications customer equipment and customer cabling through the Telecommunications (Customer Equipment and Customer Cabling) Labelling Notice (the TLN) made under section 407 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 and technical standards made under section 376 of the Telecommunications Act.

Under the TLN, suppliers of customer equipment or customer cabling that is subject to an applicable technical standard must:

  • ensure the equipment or cabling complies with the applicable technical standards
  • cause a label (the ‘regulatory compliance mark’) to be applied to the equipment or cabling - indicating compliance with the applicable technical standards
  • hold records demonstrating that the equipment or cabling complies with the applicable technical standards.

The ACMA technical standards reference industry standards made by Communications Alliance or (in relation to electrical safety) Standards Australia.  The industry standards contain technical requirements that relate to: safety, access to the emergency call service, network integrity and interoperability with the standard telephone service. 

The new 2015 TLN amends the record-keeping requirements imposed on suppliers of equipment and cabling. In summary, the amendments:

  • streamline the application of the TLN to customer equipment and cabling
  • improve the scope for suppliers (Australian importers and manufacturers) to rely on overseas compliance documentation to demonstrate compliance with Australian requirements
  • reduce the record keeping requirements that apply to customer equipment that is not used in the supply of a standard telephone service.

In light of the move to VoIP technology that is proposed under NBN Co’s fibre-to-the-premises, fibre-to-the-node, fibre-to-the-building and hybrid fibre coaxial products, the ACMA will continue working with CA to review the current suite of industry standards to ensure those standards appropriately address the consumer and operational risks associated with the supply, connection and use of VoIP customer equipment.

Last updated: 20 February 2017