In 2014–15, the ACMA’s priority compliance area (PCA) program will focus on:
- technical regulation
- wireless device compliance with an emphasis on EME compliance
- radiocommunications transmitter licensing compliance.
The ACMA sets technical regulation priorities by gathering and analysing evidence, and assessing risk.
The ACMA takes a holistic approach to implementing its PCA programme by educating people about the law and using traditional enforcement methods when indicated. This end-to-end approach enables the ACMA to extend its regulatory reach in an efficient, effective and targeted way.
The ACMA also continues to investigate and respond to high-risk issues that fall outside these priority areas on a case-by-case basis.
1. Technical regulation
The ACMA will focus on two areas:
- lighting industry electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) standards compliance—with particular emphasis on LEDs used in industrial and commercial settings
- wireless microphone supplier compliance.
LED globes have grown in popularity due to their long life and energy efficiency. However, in several cases, specific models of LED globes have been found to cause interference to reception of broadcasting and radiocommunications services. In some of these cases, the ACMA has noted that production changes have been made at the point of manufacture without the local Australian supplier being aware.
In addition to sampling suppliers of LED lighting for domestic use, the ACMA will focus on the supply of industrial and commercial LED globes because they present a greater inherent risk due to some regulatory controls being circumvented by direct importation by contractors. These contractors are unlikely to be aware of their obligations as importers.
Read more about technical standards.
The ACMA will focus compliance activities on suppliers of wireless microphones to prevent the supply of non-standard wireless microphones to the Australian public.
Wireless microphones are a priority due to upcoming changes to the class licence under which they operate. After 31 December 2014, wireless microphones will no longer be authorised to operate in the frequency range 694–820 MHz. Instead, they will be authorised to operate in the frequency range 520–694 MHz (among others).
Because of these changes to the class licence, the ACMA has updated its standards.
This means that wireless audio transmitters (including wireless microphones) that can operate from 694–820 MHz and were manufactured or imported after 1 January 2014, are now non-standard and can no longer be supplied in Australia.
Microphones manufactured or imported before 1 January 2014 can still be sold but must not be used in the 694–820 MHz range. If the microphones were manufactured or imported between 17 September and 31 December 2013, they can still be sold but must include a written statement about the limitations of their use after 31 December 2014.
The ACMA will audit a sample of suppliers as a compliance monitoring measure.
Check the FAQs for suppliers of wireless microphones.
Find out more about wireless microphones in general.
2. Wireless device EME compliance
The ACMA is focusing on compliance with EME obligations by:
- suppliers of Wi-Fi devices
- operators of wireless broadband base stations.
The ACMA regulates EME emissions by adopting the limits set by the Australia Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) for the safe level of emissions. For many wireless devices, compliance obligations are imposed on suppliers at the point of supply (such as Wi-Fi access points), while licensed wireless broadband base stations are regulated at the point of operation through licence conditions.
The increased use and popularity of wireless devices (in particular Wi-Fi devices) combined with public concern about EME has re-enforced the need for the ACMA to continue to ensure that there is a high level of compliance within the supply chain for such devices.
Read more about EME and the ACMA’s role in regulating standards for transmitters.
3. Radiocommunications transmitter licensing compliance
The ACMA is working with industry and government to implement significant changes to planning and licensing arrangements in the 400 MHz band, including relocating frequencies used by emergency services. Read more about the 400 MHz band including pending and recent changes.
The ACMA is aware of cases where operators self-selected operating frequencies within the 400 MHz band and then operated on an unlicensed basis, threatening to undermine transition arrangements and creating a risk of interference.
The ACMA will address this PCA by identifying unlicensed operation using signal monitoring, increasing operators’ awareness and pursuing escalated compliance actions where necessary.
Want to stay informed? Follow @acma_operations on Twitter for updates on the PCA program.
Read about the ACMA’s 2012–13 PCAs.