- Get set for RadComms2011
- ACMA releases annual five-year spectrum outlook
- Will your telephone number be worth keeping?
- ‘Stand up and speak out against cyberbullying’
- VHF marine radio awareness campaign underway
- ACMA hosts online investigation technical training course
- 400 MHz changes to benefit UHF CB radio users
- ACMA welcomes convergence review
- Valuable industry messages in ACCAN flood report
- Children’s and preschool programs granted classification, February 2011
- Temporary community broadcasting licences allocated, February 2011
The ACMA is to host its annual conference on the management of the radiofrequency spectrum on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 May.
RadComms2011 will offer industry the opportunity to hear the latest developments, future trends and current challenges in radiofrequency spectrum management.
This year’s international keynote speaker is Dr Martin B. H. Weiss of the University of Pittsburgh. Dr Weiss’s research interests include the interaction between technology, public policy and industry. He also examines technical cooperation among competing firms focusing on specific issues such as spectrum policy and trading, internet telephony and broadband access. His recent principal area of work has been in dynamic spectrum access (DSA).
In 2010, Dr Weiss presented at the popular IEEE International Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks (DySPAN) symposium and delivered a robust and engaging presentation.
Last year’s RadComms attracted over 240 delegates, with external stakeholders comprising the majority of participants and presenters. This reflects the ACMA’s commitment to industry engagement, with the aim of the conference to seek a balance between government and industry perspectives.
‘We are looking for industry to seize the opportunity to present on issues rather than just having the regulator shape the agenda,’ said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman.
RadComms2011 will be held at Doltone House, Darling Island Wharf, Pyrmont, Sydney.
The conference agenda and registration details are available on the ACMA website.
The ACMA’s annual assessment of existing and future demand for spectrum, and its work plan for managing spectrum on behalf of Australians from 2011 to 2015, is now available in its third edition.
The Five-year spectrum outlook 2011–2015 identifies three key tasks in the ACMA’s spectrum management:
- helping the government to achieve digital switchover
- delivering key projects to address ongoing spectrum demand
- planning for new services.
These tasks encompass a number of specific projects, including:
- progressing review outcomes for the 2.5 GHz and 400 MHz bands
- service planning for smart infrastructure and mobile broadband services
- reviewing the 900 MHz band
- continuing work on digital switchover, restack and allocation
- considering future arrangements for Earth station siting.
‘The breadth of the work plan devised by the ACMA for the 2011–2015 outlook reflects the reality that managing the high demand for spectrum and the supporting regulatory framework required is a complex challenge—even more so with rapid changes in technology and as Australia’s appetite for high-data services increases,’ said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman.
The outlook is one outcome of the ACMA’s ongoing work with stakeholders about spectrum needs. It complements the ACMA’s annual RadComms conference and Spectrum Tune-up workshops. Wide-ranging input from spectrum users on the second outlook has been taken into account when preparing this third edition.
The outlook will continue to be updated annually and is open to public comment at any time. Comments received before Wednesday 31 August 2011 will be considered for the next review of the outlook, to be published in the first quarter of 2012.
Managing the high demand for spectrum and the supporting regulatory framework required is a complex challenge—even more so with rapid changes in technology and as Australia’s appetite for high-data services increases.
The Five-year spectrum outlook 2011–2015, and further information on providing submissions for consideration in developing the fourth edition, can be found on the ACMA website.
The outlook will also be made available in hardcopy at the ACMA’s RadComms2011 conference, to be held on 26 and 27 May 2011.
Social networking identifiers and electronic addressing mechanisms may substitute for telephone numbers, according to a new ACMA report.
Allocation and charging of numbers, which is the third in a series of four numbering consultation papers, examines whether managing telephone numbers as a scarce resource remains efficient and effective for the long term.
Under the current Numbering Plan, Australia has more than 430 million telephone numbers. For most number types, fewer than 10 per cent of numbers are in use. However, since the last major review of the Numbering Plan in the mid 1990s, numbers have been managed as a scarce public resource.
Technological changes like the shift to internet-based voice, video and data services, and the rollout of both fixed and wireless next-generation networks, including the national broadband network, mean that alternative addressing mechanisms can now be used.
This paper examines current allocation approaches and pricing arrangements, and asks the following questions:
- Is ‘scarcity of numbers’ still a useful assumption on which to structure allocation arrangements?
- Would simpler charging arrangements deliver an appropriate return to government for a public resource and be more efficient than the current system?
- Are detailed prescriptive rules needed to manage numbering resources?
- Are changes to methods of allocation of numbers needed to allow more efficient use of numbers?
- Are changes needed to give end-users a greater degree of control over the allocation and use of their telephone numbers?
Previous numbering papers—Structure of Australia’s telephone Numbering Plan and Customer location information and numbering data—have examined the pressures on existing numbering arrangements, including the design and structure of Australia’s Numbering Plan, and some of the communication policy outcomes they support. These pressures include technological innovation, both at the device and network level, and significant changes in consumer use, including the rise of mobile services.
‘This work program is not about immediate changes, but is about ensuring the rules, processes and prices of numbers reflect the needs of the community, industry and government in the future,’ said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman.
‘It is interested in identifying transition paths in the medium term that allow everyone to take advantage of opportunities created by new technology and services.’
The fourth and final consultation paper will focus on consumer issues, including the role of numbers in providing price information to consumers, and explore how allowing customers to keep their number when they change service providers supports a competitive industry.
At the conclusion of the consultations on these papers, the ACMA will publish a directions paper that examines any changes needed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Numbering Plan and related numbering administration arrangements.
Submissions and comments in response to the paper close on Friday 13 May 2011.
Submissions should be sent by email to email@example.com or by mail to:
Australian Communications and Media Authority
PO Box 13112
Melbourne Vic 8010
All the consultation papers are available on the ACMA website.
The importance of encouraging young people to speak up for their friends was a key theme of the 2011 National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence, held on 18 March.
Bullying at school affects over a quarter of students between grades four and nine, with the role of the bystander—the person who witnesses bullying behaviour—a major contributing factor.
‘Bullying is not just an individual issue—peers, parents and schools have a positive and practical role to play; indeed, a role to discharge, in ending bullying and finding solutions,’ said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman.
The use of social networking, mobile phones and texting is making cyberbullying a growing problem among young people. In supporting ‘Bullying No Way!’ day, the ACMA promoted the following messages:
- Don’t just stand by. Speak out!
- Protect and support your friends.
- Tell a trusted adult.
The ACMA provided a suite of lesson plans for teachers across Australia on how to prevent and manage cyberbullying, and also staged a National Cybersmart Hero event created to tackle this issue. More than 1,000 upper primary school students from 22 schools across Australia took part in the event.
Cybersmart Hero is a one-hour, in-school online activity for students in grades five and six that addresses the responsibilities of the people in the best position to influence cyberbullying—the bystanders. The lesson plans bring the discussion into the open and encourage children to tell their parents or teachers when they witness cyberbullying.
The Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study conducted by Edith Cowan University found that taking a whole-of-school approach when dealing with incidents of bullying is most effective as it increases awareness among young people and develops peer-led support structures.
‘Confident bystanders are important because bullies like an audience—whether it’s online or in the school yard—but they are most likely to stop when peers show disapproval,’ said Mr Chapman.
For more information about the ACMA’s Cybersafety programs, visit www.cybersmart.gov.au.
The ACMA has begun an information campaign to inform recreational marine radio operators of the correct VHF radio channels to use in particular circumstances and the protocols they need to follow.
The need for greater awareness emerged during the ACMA’s ongoing review of marine radio operator certificate requirements for recreational boaters. A recent ACMA-commissioned Newspoll survey of VHF marine radio owners found that only 29 per cent have the required certificate of proficiency.
This low compliance means that many recreational boaters may not know the correct radio usage and protocols, highlighting the pressing need to inform all recreational boaters about the proper way to use a VHF radio.
Stickers and postcards that contain important VHF radio use messages are currently being distributed via many different marine stakeholder channels, including:
- Bureau of Meteorology
- state marine safety regulators
- Australian Maritime Safety Authority
- Australian Maritime College
- marine volunteer organisations
- Boating Industry Association.
A diagram on the sticker shows the purpose of each VHF channel. It is important that operators are aware of these channels and their purpose, and the priority of communications applicable to each channel. VHF channels should only be used for their assigned purpose(s); for example, channels authorised for calling are not to be used as working channels.
The campaign also includes web-based information and many relevant organisations have linked to this information from their own websites.
VHF marine radio equipment is suitable for small vessels that remain relatively close to the coast and within operating range of limited coast stations operating on VHF channels.
The comment period for the ACMA’s latest consultation paper on the review of the marine radio operators certificate of proficiency for recreational boaters has now closed and submissions are currently being analysed.
All submissions can be viewed on the ACMA website.
The VHF marine radio campaign, delivered in conjunction with the ACMA’s marine stakeholders, will be ongoing. Further information is available on the ACMA website at www.acma.gov.au/vhfmarine.
Law enforcement officers from around Australia joined content classification staff from both the ACMA and New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs for an online investigation technical training course, held on 17 and 18 February in North Sydney.
The ACMA-sponsored training was designed primarily for staff of the ACMA’s Content Classification Section, who are responsible for investigating complaints about online content believed to be prohibited under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA).
The training was tailored to the specific needs of online investigators, including:
- locating and capturing content through a variety of established and emerging online technologies
- understanding the technical frameworks behind those technologies
- developing advanced skills in determining source locations.
The course was energetically presented by Mike Duffey, a Special Agent within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Computer Crimes Center, who has delivered similar courses for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Internet Crimes against Children organisations in the United States.
There were 32 participants from agencies such as the Australian Federal Police; Australian Crime Commission; and the NSW, Queensland, Tasmanian and Victorian police forces. All attendees made the most of the rare opportunity for collaboration and knowledge-sharing between officers involved in the investigation of online content.
Feedback from the event indicates that the course was warmly received and beneficial to all participants. The ACMA looks forward to facilitating similar training in coming years.
Online content complaints
The ACMA administers the national regulatory scheme for online content. The scheme was established under the BSA, and is designed to address community concerns about offensive and illegal material on the internet and mobile phones.
Under Schedules 5 and 7 to the BSA, the ACMA investigates complaints about online content believed to be prohibited or potentially prohibited. Such categories include:
- RC and X18+ material
- R18+ material that is not subject to a restricted access system
- MA15+ material provided by a mobile premium service or a service that provides audio or video content upon payment of a fee, and that is not subject to a restricted access system.
Classifications are based on criteria outlined in the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, the National Classification Code and the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games 2005.
Since the online content complaints scheme began on 1 January 2000, the ACMA has received over 13,500 complaints about online content and taken action on more than 9,500 items of prohibited content as a result.
If the content is hosted in or provided from Australia, and is prohibited or is likely to be prohibited, the ACMA will direct the content service provider to remove or prevent access to the content on their service. If the content is not hosted in or provided from Australia, and is prohibited or is likely to be prohibited, the ACMA will notify the content to the suppliers of approved filters in accordance with the Internet Industry Association’s Code of Practice. If the content is also sufficiently serious—for example, illegal material such as child pornography—the ACMA will refer the material to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Complaints can be made using the online complaint form at www.acma.gov.au/hotline.
Owners of UHF CB radios will now have access to more channels in the 400 MHz band, following a comprehensive three-year ACMA review, and subsequent release of its timeframes and plans to restructure the band.
Despite some incorrect media reports that users will have less radiofrequency spectrum as a result of the changes to the band, the ACMA’s extensive consultation process means the UHF CB band has been restructured into 80 individual 12.5 kHz-wide channels. This is changed from the existing 40 individual 25 kHz-wide channels.
This restructure means the following changes to channelling arrangements in the UHF citizen band:
- the UHF Citizen Band Radio Service will be extended upwards by 6.25 kHz to accommodate an additional 12.5 kHz channel
- all voice channels will transition to 12.5 kHz bandwidth
- existing repeater channels will transition to 12.5 kHz bandwidth, with new repeater channels created in the space between the existing channels.
There is a planned phase-in period for the new arrangements. Retailers will be able to supply 25 kHz equipment for approximately 18 months to clear existing stock, while radio owners will be able to keep using their current 25 kHz radios for six years.
The previous technical standard, which specified the technical performance limits and test methods for 25 kHz equipment, has been revised to accommodate the new channel arrangements. Standard AS/NZS 4365:2011 was published in January 2011.
Before new devices can be supplied to the market, the revised standard must be incorporated into the ACMA’s equipment regulations, and the Radiocommunications (Citizen Band Radio Stations) Class Licence 2002 must be updated to reflect the new channel arrangements.
The consultation process on the changes to the class licence closed on 4 March 2011. After submissions have been reviewed, the revision of the class licence will be submitted to the ACMA for consideration. This is expected to occur before June 2011.
The ACMA has no plans to return to a system of individual CB operating licences, as claimed in some reports.
Further information on the changes to UHF CB is available on the ACMA website.
The ACMA welcomes the comprehensive review of media and communications regulation recently announced by Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.
‘The promise of super-fast networks, global content and applications, widespread smart devices and intelligent networks offers a generational opportunity for Australians,’ said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman.
‘As one of the world’s few converged communications regulators, the ACMA is uniquely placed to contribute to the review and we are looking forward to playing an active role.
‘Indeed, much of the current work of the ACMA is already being driven through a converged framework. The development of new approaches to numbering, digital services, spectrum allocation and premium telecommunications services are live examples. New delivery infrastructure such as optical fibre and the emergence of all-IP networks and devices are already seeing rapid change in consumer usage and industry structure.
‘Some of the implications of this are the subject of a current public inquiry by the ACMA into customer care and complaints-handling in what is traditionally described as “the telecommunications space”.
‘We are genuinely excited about these opportunities and look forward to working with the committee to assist and advise on the development of the framework, its settings and principles, so as to ensure Australia has the best chance of seizing the immense opportunities that the transition to the digital economy promises.
‘The evolution of media and communications services to digital platforms is relentless and many of the concepts which supported earlier industry, sector and consumer needs are rapidly becoming redundant; certainly they are in need of rethinking.
‘The review is an opportunity to stay ahead of the game and administer modern rules for the modern world. At the same time, there do remain enduring concepts which we forget at our peril. Consumer safety and protections are as relevant today as ever; new insights will be required to enshrine them in our futures.’
Mr Chapman also welcomed the appointment of Glen Boreham and Malcolm Long to the Convergence Review Committee.
ACMA has welcomed the release of a report from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) on the recent Queensland floods that highlights the emergency communications needs of people with a disability.
The Queensland flood disaster: Access for people with disability to phone services and emergency warnings makes a number of recommendations about the provision of both emergency and non-emergency calls in such incidents.
The severe flooding in January caused the temporary suspension of most services delivered by the government’s National Relay Service (NRS), which provides telecommunications services (including an emergency call service) to people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment. The NRS Brisbane call centre was evacuated for 24 hours on 12 January 2011 due to concerns about staff safety and access during the floods.
However, the text-based emergency access via 106 was not interrupted over this period, due to the sustained efforts of the Australian Communication Exchange (ACE), who is the NRS relay provider, and the support of Telstra. The ACMA also kept the NRS community informed of the disruption by producing a number of AUSLAN videos.
‘The ACMA has been working with ACE to assess how to better mitigate such disruptions in the future and both parties are committed to ensuring that the integrity of the NRS is maintained,’ said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman.
‘More broadly, the ACMA has received regular briefings from the major telecommunications providers during the recent run of natural disasters, outlining their preparatory actions, assistance to emergency services, customer support and infrastructure restoration.
‘Given the severity and overlapping demands placed on the telecommunications sector by these recent natural disasters, the ACMA applauds the sector for responding quickly and appropriately. With the combination of power outages, access difficulties and damage to physical infrastructure, the telecommunications providers should be recognised for their dedicated and responsive endeavours.
‘In such natural disasters, it is nevertheless important to examine how responses can be further improved. The ACCAN report is an important contribution to that examination by governments, emergency service providers, the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors, and the community.’
The ACMA is also working with the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy on a range of issues from the ACCAN report, such as:
- how the current NRS—including access to emergency services—could be improved
- how best to establish mobile text-based access to emergency services for people who are deaf or who have a hearing or speech impairment.
The report is available on the ACCAN website.
|Program title||Series||Episode description||Program style||Program type||Country of origin||
|Toybox||2||76–160||Live action||Variety||Australia||New||P||07/02/2011||Beyond Screen Productions Pty Ltd|
|Kitchen Whiz||1||1–65||Live action||Game show||Australia||New||C||14/02/2011||Ambience Entertainment Pty Ltd|
|The Woodlies||1||1–13||Animation||Drama—series||Australia||New||CD||17/02/2011||The Woodlies Pty Ltd|
CD—C Drama; PRC—Provisional C; PRP—Provisional P; P—P Classification; C—C Classification. A classification expires five years after the date it was granted or renewed.
|State||Licence area||Licensee||Community served||Frequency||Start||Finish||Allocated|
|NSW||Coffs Harbour RA3||Coffs Harbour Christian Broadcasters Inc.||Religious—Christian||94.1 MHz||01/03/11||29/02/12||14/02/11|
|Qld||Tiaro RA1||Tiaro District Community Centre Inc.||General||107.1 MHz||01/03/11||29/02/12||14/02/11|
|NT||Angurugu RA1||Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association (Aboriginal Corporation)||Indigenous||93.3 MHz||01/03/11||29/02/12||14/02/11|
|NT||Gapuwiyak RA1||Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association (Aboriginal Corporation)||Indigenous||103.9 MHz||01/03/11||29/02/12||14/02/11|
|NT||Yarralin RA1||Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association (Aboriginal Corporation)||Indigenous||96.9 MHz||01/03/11||29/02/12||14/02/11|
|NT||Minyerri RA1||Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association (Aboriginal Corporation)||Indigenous||104.9 MHz||01/03/11||29/02/12||14/02/11|
|Vic.||Castlemaine RA1||Castlemaine District Radio Inc.||General||94.9 MHz||10/03/11||09/03/12||15/02/11|
|NSW||Taree RA3||Manning Great Lakes Christian Broadcasters Inc.||Religious—Christian||106.5 MHz||16/03/11||15/03/12||15/02/11|
|Vic.||Kinglake RA1||Upper Goulburn Community Radio Inc.*||General||94.5 MHz||04/12/10||31/08/11||22/02/11|
|Vic.||Kinglake RA1||Kinglake Ranges Radio Inc.*||General||94.5 MHz||01/09/11||31/08/12||22/02/11|
|Qld||Bundaberg RA2||Bundaberg Burnett Community Broadcasting Association Inc.||General||96.3 MHz||09/03/11||08/03/12||23/02/11|
|NSW||Maclean RA1||Lower Clarence Community Radio Inc.||General||100.3 MHz||04/03/11||03/03/12||15/02/11|
* Licence period varied.