Technical standards | ACMA

Technical standards

After a supplier has identified the applicable labelling notice/s, the second step to product compliance is to identify the applicable technical standards (prescribed in the relevant labelling notice) and the testing requirements:

Steps to compliance

1. Identify the applicable labelling notice

2. Identify the applicable technical standards (prescribed in the relevant labelling notice) and the testing requirements

3. Demonstrate product compliance
4. Complete a Declaration of Conformity (DoC) and maintain compliance records
5. Register as a ‘responsible supplier’
6. Label the product

The ACMA technical standards are legislative instruments that directly reference technical performance requirements contained in industry standards.

The ACMA technical standards are made under three Acts:

A supplier should consult the relevant standards for telecommunications, radiocommunications, EMCEME and television broadcast receivers to determine the applicable testing and other evidential requirements to demonstrate compliance.

What are the ACMA technical standards?

The ACMA technical standards usually reference standards developed by industry. Referenced standards can include Australian standards published by Standards Australia, international standards, and standards developed by other bodies including Communications Alliance and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).

Technical standards made under section 376 of the Telecommunications Act adopt industry standards ‘in full’—that is, all substantive requirements and test methodologies form part of the mandatory requirements. This is because many telecommunications industry standards have been developed for regulatory purpose.

Technical standards made under section 162 of the Radiocommunications Act often adopt industry standards 'in part' rather than 'in full'. This is because the ACMA can only make standards in relation to identified topics (often referred to as ‘heads of power’). It is important when considering standards for the radiocommunications regulatory arrangements (including EMC and EME) that the section 162 standards are read in conjunction with the referenced industry standard.

Only one technical standard has been made under part 9A of the Broadcasting Services Act. The Broadcasting and Datacasting Services (Parental Lock) Technical Standard 2010 (the parental lock standard) does not reference an industry standard. The requirement that must be met by a supplier is described in its entirety in the ACMA standard. Further information is available on the Parental lock compliance page.

Changes to standards—how do transition periods work?

A product must meet the requirements of the applicable ACMA technical standard/s that apply when the product is first supplied to the market.

When an ACMA technical standard is amended or a new standard is introduced, a transition period applies. During the transition period, both the old and the amended/replacement standard apply. The transition period varies depending on the nature of the changes introduced.

During the transition period, a supplier of a new product may choose to comply with either the old or amended/replacement standard. The product must not be tested against a combination of the two standards.

Continued labelling of a product compliant to an expired standard (grandfathering)

A supplier may continue to apply a compliance label to a product that has been tested to an expired standard, provided that standard was in effect at the time of signing the Declaration of Conformity. A supplier is not required to re-test the product to the amended or replacement standard. This is commonly known as ‘grandfathering’.

However, these arrangements do not apply if at least one of the following occurs:

  • if the product is subsequently modified—the product may need to be re-tested in part or in full to the replacement standard, depending on the modification
  • if continued supply of the product/s would have an adverse effect on safety, or on the integrity of a telecommunications network or facility
  • if a telecommunications product is also subject to a radiocommunications standard that includes clauses that do not allow for grandfathering to occur (for example, wireless microphones).

Next step:

Conduct the appropriate testing.

Last updated: 04 February 2016