On 1 July 2012, the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency (TUSMA) was established and the previous Universal Service Obligation and the National Relay Service levies were replaced with a single levy, the Telecommunications Industry Levy (TIL) imposed under the Telecommunications (Industry Levy) Act 2012. The TIL together with government funding, covered TUSMA’s costs for the implementation and administration of service contracts or grants to deliver universal service and other public policy telecommunications outcomes.
On 1 July 2015, TUSMA was abolished and its functions transferred to the Department of Communications and the Arts (Department). The abolition of TUSMA is in line with the Australian Government’s agenda of cutting red tape to reduce the regulatory burden on industry and increases industry certainty by having a single agency responsible for policy and implementation (contract management) of telecommunications universal service matters.
The process for assessing and collecting the TIL is no longer contained in the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency Act 2012 (TUSMA Act), but instead is dealt with under the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 (the TCPSS Act). A combination of funds raised under the TIL and dedicated government funding will continue to be used to meet the costs of service contracts or grants to deliver universal service and other public policy telecommunications outcomes (with the contracts and grants administered by the Department).
What does the TIL fund?
The TIL funds the payment of contractors and grant recipients, and eligible administrative costs to ensure continuity of key telecommunications safeguards. In particular, this levy provides for:
- reasonably accessible standard telephone services and payphone services to all Australians on an equitable basis, regardless of where they live or carry on business (the USO);
- a national telephone service to enable people with a hearing or speech impediment to make and receive telephone calls (the NRS);
- delivery of emergency call services; and
- delivery of other public policy telecommunications outcomes.
How is the TIL assessed?
From 1 July 2015 the TIL will be assessed under the TCPSS Act. Participating persons (i.e. telecommunications carriers with eligible revenue in excess of $25 million or certain persons who do not submit an eligible statutory declaration) are required to lodge eligible revenue returns with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA). The ACMA will make a written assessment of each participating person’s eligible revenue for each return period. Refer to the Eligible revenue reporting web page for further information.
Contributions to the TIL are proportional to each participating person’s eligible revenue for the previous financial year. The calculation of this levy is set out in the Levy Amount Formula Modification Determination 2015 (Levy Determination), made under subsection 50(2) of the TCPSS Act.
When will each year’s TIL assessments be made?
Within four months after each period (by the end of October), the Secretary of the Department must prepare a written statement setting out the overall levy target amount for the period (the total costs of contracts, grants and administrative costs incurred during that period) and a breakdown of the amount in accordance with section 42 of the TCPSS Act.
TIL assessments for all participating persons are then calculated and invoices issued.
TIL assessments will also be published below under ‘Telecommunications funding arrangements by year’.
Telecommunications funding arrangements by year
The following table contains information regarding telecommunications funding instruments and assessments for the relevant eligible levy period.
For further information, please refer to the following legislative instruments.
Eligible revenue reporting
More information is available from the Eligible revenue reporting web page.
Prior arrangements for funding of the USO
The following links contain information on USO funding and subsidies assessments in prior years: