Read on for answers to common questions about the Australian cabling regulations and training schemes for current, former and prospective cablers.
What happened to AUSTEL/ACA cabling licences?
The former ACA and AUSTEL have merged into the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA), which now regulates communications cabling in Australia. Cabler Provider Rules (CPRs) replaced the previous cabler licensing system with a new industry managed registration system.
Individual ACA/AUSTEL licences have now been replaced with cabling registrations under the new arrangements. No licences have been issued since October 2000. Cablers must now register to do cabling work with an ACMA-accredited registrar.
Is my AUSTEL/ACA cabling licence still valid?
No. If you previously had an AUSTEL or ACA cabling licence it has expired and is no longer valid.
Please contact an Approved Training Provider for advice on re-qualifying for a cabling registration. You may be able to undertake a re-assessment of your cabling skills under recognition of prior learning provisions. A re-assessment may eliminate or substantially reduce the training required to re-qualify for registration.
Performing cabling work without a registration may result in prosecution.
What are the Cabling Provider Rules?
The CPRs were developed in consultation with industry to replace the individual cabler licensing system and commenced on 3 October 2000. The licence system has been phased out and a new registration system is now in place. All cabling licences have now expired and only registered cablers may undertake cabling work.
Access a full copy of the Telecommunications Cabling Provider Rules 2014.
What are the requirements for registration under CPRs?
All registered cablers are required to undertake appropriate training modules or training competencies to ensure that they are competent to perform the cabling work according to the Wiring Rules, which ensure safety to consumers, cablers and the network.
Please contact an Registered Training Organisation to access the training required for registration. Follow this link to view a list of approved training providers in each state:
To register, you must contact one of the ACMA-accredited registrars.
Who are the registrars and how do I register?
There are five registrars accredited by the ACMA who manage the cabling registration system. Registrars compete for cabler registrations and offer a range of services including:
- providing a national cabler registration service
- verifying a cabler’s eligibility for registration
- managing a complaint and referral system
- sending information to cablers.
An individual cabler must contact an ACMA-accredited registrar for registration. You only need to contact one registrar, but you can choose to register with more than one registrar if you wish.
Each registrar can advise you how to register and what the relevant registration fees are. It is YOUR responsibility to contact a registrar to register.
How much will it cost to register?
Each registrar offers different services and different fees. Contact them to determine which one suits you best.
What work can I do under each registration type?
Under the registration system, there are three types of registrations—Open, Restricted and Lift.
If you wish to work in both commercial and domestic premises you will require an Open registration. If you only want to work in domestic premises, you will require a Restricted registration.
Below is a summary of the type of work you can do under each registration. For full details, refer to the Telecommunications Cabling Provider Rules 2014.
- Open—this registration allows a cabler to undertake all types of cabling work from simple cabling in homes to complex structured cabling in multi-storey buildings.
- Restricted—this registration restricts you to doing work where the network boundary is a simple socket or a network termination device—typically found in domestic homes and small businesses, not in large commercial buildings. Cablers may also undertake work in multi-storey and campus-style premises where cabling is performed behind a compliant device (for example, alarm panel or modem).
- Lift—this registration type is for installing and maintaining communications cables in lifts and lift wells.
What industry sectors are covered by CPRs?
CPRs cover all sectors that involve customer cabling work, including telephone, data, fire and security alarm systems cabling, that connects or is intended to connect with the telecommunications network. This work must be performed by a registered cabler or under the direct supervision of a registered cabler.
All registered cablers are required to undertake appropriate training to ensure that they are competent to perform the cabling work according to the Wiring Rules, which ensures safety to consumers, cablers and the network.
Under the registration system, there are no longer exemptions for individuals performing cabling work in the security, fire and computer data industries (these were exempt prior to October 2000).
What training do I need to become registered?
To become a registered cabler you will need to undertake the requisite training course for the type of cabling registration that you are seeking—Open, Restricted or Lift registration. If you have previous telecommunications cabling experience or cabling experience in other industries (for example, electrical), you may be able to undertake a re-assessment of your cabling skills under recognition of prior learning provisions. A re-assessment may eliminate or substantially reduce the training required to qualify for registration.
Please contact a Regsitered Training Provider for advice on the most expedient way for you to qualify for a cabling registration.
I have trade qualifications from overseas but would like to be become a registered cabler?
If you are a resident or non-resident who has overseas technical, vocational or trade qualifications, you may be able to obtain cabling registration in Australia after your qualifications are assessed. There are a number of agencies within Australia that can assess overseas qualifications in the technical, vocational and trade areas:
- Vocational Education and Training Assessment Services (VET ASSESS): www.vetassess.com.au
- Australian Education International—National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (AEI-NOOSR): www.aei.gov.au
- Trades Recognition Australia: www.tradesrecognitionaustralia.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx
- Qualifications Units (OQUs):
www.communityservices.act.gov.au (Australian Capital Territory)
www.det.nsw.edu.au (New South Wales)
www.deet.nt.gov.au (Northern Territory)
www.employment.sa.gov.au (South Australia)
www.det.wa.edu.au (Western Australia).
I am an electrician, what do I have to do to register?
If you are an electrician and considering undertaking communications cabling work, you will need to obtain either a Restricted or Open cabling registration.
To obtain a Restricted registration, you will need to complete an applicable restricted training pathway and have relevant cabling experience in installing telecommunications, electrical, data, security alarm, fire alarm, or lift cables.
Note: design or supervision of cabling work or cabling work using pre-terminated cabling, such as extension leads and patching is not accepted as relevant cabling experience.
To obtain an Open registration you will need to complete an applicable open training pathway and have six months relevant cabling experience.
Please contact a Registered Training Organisation for advice on the most expedient way for you to qualify for a cabling registration.
I work on security, fire or computing cabling—do I need to register?
Yes. There is no longer an exemption for these cabling areas, soyou need to register under CPRs. A Restricted registration is sufficient for cabling work behind a compliant device (for example, fire alarm or security control panel) and simple connections to the network via a mode 3 socket, but an Open registration is required for cabling work between a compliant device and a main distribution frame (MDF) or similar.
If I don't have a cabling registration can I do cabling work under supervision?
Yes, but you must be directly supervised at all times by a cabler who is registered for the type of work you are doing. The registered cabler who is supervising you must:
- ensure that you are directly supervised
- take full responsibility for the standard of the work completed
- ensure all work complies with the relevant competency requirements and the Wiring Rules*
- complete a Telecommunications cabling advice form—TCA1 form (PDF or Word).
* The Wiring Rules are the minimal requirements for the installation or maintenance of cabling product (including cable) that is connected, or is intended to be connected to a telecommunications network. Copies of the Wiring Rules (AS/CA S009:2013) can be downloaded from the Communications Alliance website.
What happens if my cabling registration has expired?
If you have completed competency based cabling training (since July 1997), find your certificates of completed competency modules. Present them to one of the registrars to obtain a new registration.
If you cannot locate these certificates, you may request a transcript of results of the completed competency modules from the registered training organisation that provided the initial cabling training to you.
If your cabling training was done prior to July 1997 (for example, through Austel examinations), please contact a Registered Training Organisation to undertake a reassessment of your cabling competencies via Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
If you haven't renewed your registration due to extenuating circumstances, you may send a written request to the ACMA (via the online enquiry form) seeking special dispensation.
In your correspondence, please provide details of your expired cabling registration and explain why the registration was not renewed when it was due. You will also need to explain how long you have been cabling and what type of cabling work you have performed. The ACMA will assess each request for special dispensation on a case-by-case basis and notify you in writing of the outcome. If dispensation is granted by the ACMA, you will be permitted to re-register without the need for further training or assessment of your qualifications.
Can I do Structured, Coax and Optic Fibre cabling work if I have an Open Registration?
Yes. An open registered cabler without relevant additional training endorsements or specialist competencies can continue to install either structured, coax or fibre cabling until 1 July 2014. After this date cablers wanting to install these types of cabling will need to have either previously attained the relevant endorsements or will need to attend training for the relevant specialist competencies. Attaining the relevant competencies by 1 July 2014 is a mandatory requirement of the Cabling Provider Rules (CPRs). Failure to obtain the competencies will also limit the scope of cabling a cabler can install.
Please contact a Registered Training Organisation for more information.
Will my registration expire if I do not have specialist competencies/endorsements by 1 July 2014?
No. Failure to attain the additional relevant competencies does not mean that the cabler's registration will lapse. However, a cabler who does not have the structured, optical fibre or co-axial competencies will not be permitted to install or work on that type of cabling.
What happens if I do not comply with the Telecommunications Act or the CPRs?
The ACMA has a range of options available to enforce compliance. The ACMA may:
- simply issue a formal warning notice to you
- issue a non-compliance notice to the telecommunications carrier (who may disconnect dangerous cabling from the network)
- issue a telecommunications infringement notice to the cabler (this is an on-the-spot fine of $2,040)
- if the matter is serious enough, the ACMA can take court prosecution action against the cabler. A court prosecution may result in a conviction and/or a fine of up to $90,000.
If you are an unregistered cabler who is not properly supervised or if the work you perform does not comply with the Wiring Rules you have committed a criminal offence and you could face an on-the-spot fine of $2,040. The fine can be up to $90,000 if court action is taken.
How do I get a copy of the Communications Cabling Manual?
SAI Global produces the Communications Cabling Manual. The manual contains the mandatory cabling standards (including the Wiring Rules) as well as a number of explanatory handbooks. The latest version of the manual was released in June 2007.
To purchase a copy of the manual please contact SAI Global:
Phone: 131 242
Copies of these Standards can be downloaded from the Communications Alliance website free of charge:
- AS/CA S009:2013 Installation Requirements for Customer Cabling (Wiring Rules)
- AS/CA S008:2010 Requirements for customer cabling products
Do I have to maintain records of my cabling work?
All registered cablers must provide a compliance declaration form (a job sign-off form) to the customer. This form is also known as a Telecommunications cabling advice form—TCA1 form (PDF or Word).
At the end of each cabling job to indicate that the cabling work complies with the Wiring Rules, you must complete and sign the TCA1 form and give a copy to the customer and employer (if appropriate). A copy of the completed TCA1 form must also be kept by you for at least 12 months and made available to ACMA inspectors and auditors on request. You may make arrangements with your employer to keep TCA1 forms on your behalf but the forms are your responsibility.
The form may be either reproduced as is or the information on the form incorporated into your existing invoice or other business forms to avoid additional paperwork.
Use of the TCA1 form or its equivalent is not required for the following activities:
- running, transposing, removing jumpers on distribution frames
- marking, replacing and upgrading cabling records
- all testing and transmission measurement activities
- replacement of sockets or other minor cabling equipment for maintenance purposes.
How do I know if a cable is an approved type?
Cable and cabling product is approved if it has an A-tick symbol on it (or on its packaging).
Who do I contact if I see non-compliant cabling work?
Submit a written complaint to the ACMA via the online complaint form. Your complaint must be in writing for action to occur.
Who do I contact if I have questions about technical standards or the Wiring Rules?
Contact the ACMA on 1300 850 115 or via the online enquiry form.