Under the Telecommunications Act 1997, there are two types of persons or organisations that can provide carriage services (telecommunications services) to the public:
carriers - persons who own a telecommunications network unit to supply carriage services to the public.
carriage service providers - those who use a telecommunications network unit to supply carriage services to the public.
Carriers must hold a carrier licence unless an exemption applies or a nominated carrier declaration (NCD) is in place for that network unit.
Carrier licences are granted by the ACMA under section 56 of the Act. A telecommunications network unit is defined in Part 2 of that Act.
An NCD allows the owner of a network unit to nominate a licensed carrier to assume responsibility for all carrier-related obligations for that network unit. In turn, an NCD allows a licensed carrier to accept regulatory responsibility for the network unit on behalf of the owner of the network unit.
The licensed carrier applies to the ACMA for the NCD. The applicant must be able to provide evidence it will be in a position to comply with all obligations under the Telecommunications Act in its capacity as the nominated carrier for the network unit. Where an NCD is in force, the owner of the network unit does not require a carrier licence.
Carriage service providers
Carriage services include services for carrying communications, for example telephone services, internet access services and VoIP services.
A CSP is a person that supplies a carriage service to the public using a telecommunications network unit. CSPs can include organisations that resell time on a carrier network for phone calls, provide access to the internet (Internet Service Providers) or provide telephone services over the internet (VoIP service providers). CSPs are not required to obtain a licence from ACMA to supply a carriage service to the public.
For more information on carriers and CSPs see: