Each year, the ACMA sets a priority compliance area (PCA) program, which takes a strategic approach to combating high-risk compliance issues in a coordinated manner.
In 2016–17, our PCA program will focus on three areas:
- compliance in the Harmonised Government Spectrum (HGS) within the 400 MHz band
- customer cabling
- interference management.
How are the PCAs decided?
We set our PCAs for technical compliance after gathering intelligence about compliance issues and assessing the level of risk. Through this analysis, we identify systemic compliance issues requiring a robust compliance response. This approach enables us to effectively focus our resources on higher-risk issues, while continuing to monitor and appropriately respond to lower-level matters.
Development of the PCAs for 2016–17 was informed by the Shaping our technical priorities tune-up. Held on 8 March in conjunction with RadComms 2016, this tune-up provided industry representatives with the opportunity to give their input to the PCA discussion and the development of future priorities.
Discussions at the tune-up were centered on the interference risk posed from certain devices. Those highlighted included solar inverters, wireless power transfer devices and devices subject to the Radiocommunications (Short Range Devices) Standard 2014. In particular, devices operating on 902–915 MHz that pose an interference risk to mobile phone services in Australia, were pinpointed. The attendees also discussed the important role of education and awareness in improving compliance, and the need for an industry focal-point for best practice.
While not every high-risk issue can be selected as a PCA, they will all still have our attention. The ACMA will continue to respond to and investigate interference cases that pose a high-risk to the integrity of the radiofrequency spectrum through our business-as-usual practices. In particular, the ACMA will continue to give a high priority to LED lighting matters, mobile repeater operation and prohibited devices such as mobile and GPS jammers.
Stakeholder engagement is becoming a cornerstone of the PCA program and we will continue to encourage a meaningful dialogue between government and industry in order to improve compliance.
The specific activities implemented for each PCA are dependent on the issue and appropriate compliance response. These can however include non-regulatory measures (like education and awareness) as well as regulatory measures (such as auditing, field monitoring and enforcement). Tailoring our approach enables us to extend our regulatory reach in an efficient, effective and targeted way.
Read about the 2015–16 PCAs.
What will each PCA focus on?
1. Compliance in the Harmonised Government Spectrum of the 400 MHz band
The results of spectrum monitoring have identified a number of cases of unlicensed operation in Harmonised Government Spectrum (HGS) within the 400 MHz band. Our investigations into these matters have identified Segment Y (467.50625–469.9875 MHz) as being high-risk for this non-compliant activity. This segment includes numerous licences belonging to the general commercial entities, which cannot be renewed as a result of 400 MHz band changes.
The monitoring conducted was signalled in our compliance program report for the 400 MHz band PCA conducted in 2014–15. While the outcome of this PCA found a compliance rate of around 87 per cent for low-powered devices in the 400 MHz band, we noted that we would continue to monitor this band and act on instances of non-compliance.
We will seek to improve compliance in Segment Y (467.50625–469.9875 MHz) by using regulatory and non-regulatory approaches. The non-regulatory approach will include stakeholder engagement, targeted education and awareness activities. This will be complemented by traditional spectrum monitoring and enforcement activities.
2. Customer cabling compliance
There have been significant changes in the operating environment for customer cabling in recent years. Consumer demand for cabling has evolved from the connection of telephony services (for example, installation of phone points) to the connection of a range of ‘smart’ devices, as part of the ‘smart wired home’ concept. This can involve installations that use electrical cabling for communications purposes using power line telecommunications equipment. Because of the convergence of electrical, communications and IT products, there is much greater crossover and synergy between the electrical and communications cabling industries. Through the PCA program, we will be assessing the compliance level of customer cabling in this new converged environment.
As part of this PCA, a customer cabling compliance program will be implemented. This program will obtain intelligence about the compliance standing of customer cabling installation and act on instances of non-compliance. In accordance with our stakeholder management principles, we will be seeking the input of industry to ensure the program is appropriately scoped. The outcomes of this program will likely inform the future direction for cabling regulation in Australia.
3. Interference management
During 2015–16, we commenced our discussions with industry to seek their feedback on interference matters. Through this PCA, we will extend our stakeholder engagement activities and have broader discussions with suppliers, radiocommunications licensees and relevant stakeholders about the role of industry and the ACMA in managing interference.
In particular, we shall be examining the interference management principles that underpin the ACMA’s approach to diagnosing and resolving cases of interference to licensed radiocommunications services and domestic television interference.
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