VoIP service providers are considered to be a Carriage Service Provider (CSP) and a range of legislation, codes and standards apply to them.
VoIP Providers offering a Type 4 two-way service enabling customers to make calls to and receive calls from users of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)) may be considered a Standard Telephone Service as defined by section 6 of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999. This places several further obligations on your service including:
VoIP providers offering Type 2 out only services are required to:
Provide free of charge access to Triple Zero (000); or,
If unable to do so, clearly inform customers that access is not available. The Determination sets out minimum standards for how this information must be presented and requires the customer to acknowledge they understand the limitations of the service. For further information, refer to the ACMA's VoIP and Emergency Call Services page.
CSPs are not required to register with the ACMA.
VoIP providers are also subject to parts of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 dealing with topics such as pricing, anti-competitive behaviour, and number portability.
Further information may be obtained from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
VoIP providers are unlikely to require a carrier licence, unless they intend owning a ‘network unit'. A network unit may be defined as:
Examples of a ‘line link' are: copper twisted pair, coaxial or fibre optic cables.
Further information about network units are defined in sections 25-29 of the Telecommunications Act 1997.
More information on carrier licences.
Codes and standards
Codes of practice have been developed as part of industry self-regulation as outlined in Part 6 of the Telecommunications Act 1997.
Compliance is mandatory. Once codes and standards are registered with the ACMA, the industry must comply.