The Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) is an industry-wide database containing all listed and unlisted public telephone numbers and associated information. It is a critical source of information for emergency and law enforcement purposes.
The ACMA’s role
The ACMA has a compliance monitoring and enforcement role in relation to the IPND. In undertaking this role, the ACMA conducts regular audits and investigations to identify potential breaches of IPND obligations. A key focus of the ACMA’s compliance activity is to improve the quality of address data provided to the IPND. This is of critical importance because inaccurate address data in the IPND:
- could delay emergency response;
- has implications for the implementation and operation of telephony-based emergency warning systems; and
- could impair or compromise efficient lines of investigations by law enforcement and national security agencies.
Industry-wide results: 2009–10 IPND audit
The ACMA commissions periodic audits of the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND). The 2009–10 IPND audit is the fourth in the series of audits conducted, under contract, by Gibson Quai-AAS and Data Analysis Australia. The previous three audits were conducted in 2004, 2005 and 2006 under the same contract.
Part 4 of Schedule 2 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 sets out service provider rules in relation to the IPND. Under these rules, carriage service providers that supply a carriage service to an end-user of a public number must provide the public number and the associated customer data to the IPND Manager.
Carriage service providers are also obliged to comply with the Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Determination 2009. This includes ensuring that the information provided to the IPND Manager is at all times as accurate and current as possible.
The data in the IPND may only be accessed from the IPND Manager for approved purposes as specified in Telstra's Carrier Licence Conditions, or as allowed by Part 13 of the Telecommunications Act 1997. These are:
- the operation of the emergency call service or assisting emergency services;
- assisting enforcement agencies or safeguarding national security;
- providing directory assistance services;
- providing operator services or operator assistance services;
- the publication and maintenance of public number directories;
- providing location dependent carriage services;
- the provision of telephony-based emergency warning systems;
- undertaking approved research; and
- assisting the ACMA to verify the accuracy and completeness of information held in the IPND.
The IPND Scheme, which commenced in 2007, details the processes by which the ACMA may grant authorisation enabling access to and use of information in the IPND for the publication and maintenance of a public number directory or research of a kind as specified by the Minister.
Industry codes and guidelines
The IPND Code C555:2008 builds on the legislative requirements and sets out the rights and obligations relating to access, input, use, disclosure and storage of IPND data. The Code was developed by Communications Alliance Ltd and registered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
The IPND Data Guideline G619:2007 was developed by Communications Alliance Ltd to improve the quality of data provided to the IPND Manager. It shows data providers how to ensure that data is entered consistently by providing the expected content of the various data elements.
The IPND was established in 1998 and is managed by Telstra as part of its carrier licence conditions. The IPND Manager receives data from registered data providers and provides data to registered data users. A registered data provider may be the carriage service provider itself or an agent that supplies data to the IPND Manager on behalf of a carriage service provider. The IPND Manager also provides feedback to data providers about identified data errors. Information on becoming a registered data provider or data user and relevant documents are available on the IPND Manager's website.
Information stored in the IPND
Telstra’s Carrier Licence Conditions and the IPND Code require that the IPND contain certain information in relation to each public number of a customer of each carriage service provider, including:
- the public number;
- the name of the customer;
- the name of the carriage service provider (CSP);
- the service address of the customer;
- an alternate address flag to indicate that a service may not be at the customer’s service address recorded in the IPND (for example, this can apply to calls made from a local service connected to a PABX, or when using nomadic services such as VoIP);
- if the alternate address flag is set to ‘True’, a contact name and number for the customer;
- whether the service is unlisted or listed;
- for listed services, the name and address of the customer to appear in public number directories;
- whether the telephone service is to be used for government, business, charitable or private purposes – if practicable; and
- the type of service (for example, fixed, mobile, payphone or premium services).