Two types of organisations can provide telecommunications services to the public—carriers and carriage service providers (CSPs). A carrier owns a network unit used to supply telephony or internet services to the public.
There are four types of network units:
- single line links connecting distinct places in Australia
- multiple line links connecting distinct places in Australia
- designated radiocommunications facilities
- facilities specified in a ministerial determination under section 29 of the Telecommunications Act.
A CSP uses, but does not own, a telecommunications network unit to provide carriage services to the public.
All service providers must comply with legislated service provider rules. They include obligations to:
The ACMA may issue a trial certificate for a network unit to trial the technical and commercial viability of services. The certificate exempts the owner from the obligation to hold a carrier licence for up to six months. This period may be extended for a further six months by application. At the trial's conclusion, the owner of the network unit(s) must either apply for a carrier licence or decommission the network unit(s).
If you want to apply for a carrier licence, a nominated carrier declaration or trial certificate, or operate as service provider, familiarise yourself with the provisions of the Telecommunications Act and the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act. You should also be aware that a number of Commonwealth Acts impose charges on carriers, and that any activities associated with telecommunications may be constrained by the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and the Radiocommunications Act 1992, as well as by other Commonwealth, state or territory legislation. Application forms for carrier licence, nominated carrier declaration and trial certificates are available below. CSPs do not require a carrier licence, but are required to comply with a range of obligations set out in Schedule 2 of the Telecommunications Act.
- Know your obligations—Carriers and carriage service providers, including internet and VoIP service providers (Word or PDF)