Under the Telecommunications Act 1997 (the Telecommunications Act), the ACMA is responsible for the technical regulation—including compliance and labelling arrangements and technical standards—of telecommunications customer equipment and customer cabling. Unless otherwise noted, a reference to ‘product’ in this document is a reference to both customer equipment and customer cabling.
The telecommunications regulatory arrangements impose obligations (including in relation to labelling and record keeping) on a supplier of specified telecommunications products before the product is supplied to the Australian market. The obligations are detailed in the:
The objective of the arrangements is to manage both consumer risks (related to health and safety, and access to the emergency call service) and industry risks (related to network integrity and interoperability).
The TLN addresses these risks by imposing obligations on a supplier both before and after the product is supplied. These requirements are intended to provide confidence to the ACMA, network operators and the public that products supplied in Australia comply with applicable technical standards, and that the supplier of the product has taken appropriate steps to ensure the product is compliant.
The telecommunications regulatory arrangements require that, prior to supplying a telecommunications product, a supplier must:
- Assess applicability – establish whether the product is subject to the telecommunications customer equipment and customer cabling regulatory arrangements (refer to Part 3 in the TLN).
- Identify the applicable technical standards – identify the applicable telecommunications technical standard/s as listed in Schedule 1 of the TLN.
- Demonstrate compliance – ensure the product complies with the applicable technical standard/s. Compliance may be demonstrated through testing and/or assessment of supporting documentation.
- Complete a Declaration of Conformity (DoC) and maintain compliance records – the DoC is a declaration made by, or on behalf of the supplier that all products comply with the applicable standard/s. A compliance record is a collection of documents (that includes the DoC and some test reports) that support the supplier’s claim the product complies with the standard/s (refer to Part 5 of the TLN).
- Register on the national database – a supplier must register on the national database before affixing a compliance label to a compliant product (refer to Part 5, Division 2 of the TLN).
- Apply a compliance label – a compliance label indicates the product complies with the applicable standards (refer to Part 4 or Schedule 4 of the TLN). The compliance label consists of the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM).
The TLN and its associated explanatory statement is available on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments through the ComLaw website.
The TLN replaces the Telecommunications Labelling (Customer Equipment and Customer Cabling) Notice 2001. Please go to the 2015 TLN – summary of changes page to read about the changes to the regulatory arrangements introduced by the TLN.
If you supply products designed or intended for connection to a telecommunications network or facility in Australia, and fail to comply with the compliance and labelling requirements of the TLN, you may be committing an offence. Penalties can reach up to $18,000 under section 413 of the Telecommunications Act.
The Telecommunications Act also prescribes penalties of up to $21,600 for breaches of the Act, including connection of unlabelled product to a telecommunications network or facility without permission. Penalties also apply for corporations that breach requirements under the Act.
Other regulatory arrangements
The ACMA also has regulatory arrangements for: