ACMA annual report: wins for consumers and industry | ACMA

ACMA annual report: wins for consumers and industry

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s annual report, tabled today in parliament, demonstrates the practical outcomes and benefits that the ACMA delivered in 2013–14 for consumers and industry. The report highlights these benefits across a wide range of areas including telecommunications compliance, online protection, ground-breaking research, de-regulation initiatives, spectrum management and major broadcasting investigations.

‘The breadth of our portfolio and the depth of our work are clear from this report,’ said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman. ‘Our cybersafety work keeps delivering, the anti-spam and Do Not Call Register teams keep faith with enormous numbers of Australians, and our internet complaints section deals effectively with online child exploitation material through great teamwork, innovative ICT deployment and increasingly strong international relationships.’

2013–14 was also a year of significant court wins, including the Federal Court ordering TPG Internet to pay penalties in the sum of $400,000 for contraventions of the Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Determination 2009.

The ACMA released ground-breaking research suggesting that mobile broadband led to an increase in Australia’s economy activity in 2013 of $33.8 billion. This report, along with several related research pieces, is contributing to the development of a broader mobile broadband strategy to identify and prioritise spectrum planning and allocation activities for mobile data services.

The ACMA’s Cybersmart program was extended with Be Deadly Online, Australia’s first online cybersafety resources developed specifically for Indigenous Australians. As well as winning numerous international and local awards, the program is highly regarded by educators and community leaders.

The ACMA’s work in prohibited online content was bolstered by Memoranda of Understanding signed during the year with the New South Wales, Northern Territory South Australian, Tasmanian and Western Australian police forces.  The MOU’s provide mechanisms for rapid action in response to online child sexual abuse material. Two additional highlights for the ACMA were making a very substantial contribution to the Communications portfolio deregulation agenda and developing, in close consultation with industry, a new framework for call charges from mobile phones to 1800 and 13/1300 numbers, reflecting the continued importance of mobile phones to Australian consumers.

‘These outcomes reflect a meeting of our facilitative approach and a preparedness by industry to take ownership of the issues,’ Mr Chapman said. ‘This theme of increasing facilitation is very important to the evolving regulatory practice of the ACMA.’

Other highlights from the Annual report 2013–14 include:

Telecommunications

  • Billing, complaints-handling, customer transfers and usage alerts were under scrutiny during the year. The ACMA issued seven directions to comply with the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code 2012 (TCP Code), 106 formal warnings and its first infringement notice in respect of a breach of the TCP Code.
  • New identity-checking arrangements for prepaid mobile phone services were introduced in October 2013 to streamline ID requirements.

Broadcasting investigations and codes

  • 180 investigations were conducted into licensees’ compliance with codes of practice, licence conditions, standards and the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. Two investigations attracted a significant amount of public attention and comment: The Hamster Decides and All-Asian Mall.
  • Five new broadcasting industry codes of practice were registered to limit gambling advertising and the promotion of betting ads during live sports broadcasts, in response to community concerns about gambling promotions in live sports broadcasts.

Spectrum management

  • Continued support for the clearance of TV broadcasting from the 700 MHz band.
  • Facilitated early access for Telstra and Optus to the 700 MHz band for 4G/LTE services.
  • Continued support for the transition of wireless microphones from the 700 MHz band with a dedicated website, video, channel finder and targeted media outreach programs.

Online investigations

  • Introduction of new software and processes that saw the number of investigations into online child sexual abuse material rise significantly: complaints rose by 29 per cent and investigations by 551 per cent (compared to 2012-13). Every single image taken down helps to prevent the re-victimisation of the children who have suffered abuse.

The ACMA’s Customer Service Centre

  • Opened in March 2014, the centre offers a single phone number and email to provide a seamless point of contact for customers seeking advice, information or services provided by the ACMA in the communications infrastructure space. These include applying for a licence, reporting interference to radiocommunications services, television or radio reception, buying a smartnumber or enquiring about cabling. This project is a key component of the ACMA revolutionising the delivery of services to its customers.  In 2015, during the final phase of the project, the ACMA plans to complete the transition by providing a single contact point for all its customer interactions.

For more information 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 66/2014—16 October

Last updated: 25 January 2016