In 2015–16, our priority compliance area (PCA) program will focus on two areas:
- radiocommunications transmitter licensing compliance
- light-emitting diode (LED) lighting compliance.
What is the PCA program?
The PCA program is centered on a risk-based methodology and takes a strategic approach to combating high-risk compliance issues in a coordinated manner.
We set our PCAs for technical compliance after gathering intelligence about compliance issues and assessing the level of risk. It is through this analysis that the systemic compliance issues requiring a robust compliance response are identified. This approach enables us to effectively focus our resources on higher-risk issues while continuing to monitor and appropriately respond to lower-risk matters.
We take a holistic approach to implementing the PCA program. The specific activities implemented are dependent on each particular PCA and include non-regulatory measures (like education and awareness) as well as regulatory measures (such as auditing, field monitoring and enforcement). This approach enables us to extend our regulatory reach in an efficient, effective and targeted way.
This year we will be focusing on stakeholder engagement in order to improve compliance and reduce the need for regulatory intervention. This will allow us to encourage and improve dialogue between government and industry through our PCA program.
1. Radiocommunications transmitter licensing compliance
While the majority of radiocommunications licensees operate their devices within the regulatory parameters, we’ve identified some systemic issues that have resulted in significant interference to critical radiocommunications services. These include:
- Australian suppliers importing and selling devices configured for overseas markets. We are particularly concerned about suppliers selling devices that would normally be licensed under the Radiocommunications (Low Interference Potential Devices) Class Licence 2015 (the LIPD class licence), but operate on the overseas frequency allocation.
- land mobile apparatus licensees with an ‘area-wide’ special licence condition who do not properly authorise and administer third-party users under the terms of the ACMA issued licence.
Why is LIPD class licence compliance important?
During 2015–16, we will focus on the compliance activities of Australian operators and suppliers of Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID), as well as other high-risk devices.
We have responded to a number of cases of radiocommunications devices causing interference to mobile networks, where operation of the device would generally be licensed under the LIPD class licence. These devices were operating on frequency ranges allowed by other countries, however in Australia, the frequency ranges are licensed for mobile phone use.
We will seek to improve compliance with the LIPD class licence by using both non-regulatory and regulatory approaches. The non-regulatory approach will include stakeholder engagement, targeted education and awareness activities. This will be complemented by traditional auditing, spectrum monitoring and enforcement activities.
Why is it important for ‘area-wide’ land mobile apparatus licensees to properly authorise and administer third-party users?
We have conducted a number of investigations into land mobile apparatus licensees into land mobile apparatus licensees who have an area-wide special licence condition on their licence. These licensees had issued authorisations to third-party users to operate under their licence, but had not appropriately issued the authorisation on the same terms as their ACMA apparatus licence, resulting in radiocommunications users being adversely affected by interference.
The area-wide special licence condition specifies the geographical area in which the licensee is permitted to operate. This may include a city, state, the whole of Australia or another specific area. It is a condition of these licences that the licensee—and third-party users operating under the licence—must not cause interference to other users, nor will they be protected if another service interferes with them. The licensees must ensure that authorised third-party users do not cause interference to fixed licence services.
We will seek to engage and educate land mobile apparatus licensees with area-wide licences who issue third-party authorisations. This non-regulatory approach will be complemented with traditional compliance activities, including spectrum monitoring and enforcement.
2. LED lighting compliance
Building on the activities implemented last year, we will continue to focus our attention on LED lighting compliance.
What’s the problem or risk with LED lighting?
LED globes have grown in popularity due to their long life and energy efficiency. However, in several cases, specific models of LED globes have been found to cause interference to reception of broadcasting and radiocommunications services. In some of these cases, we have noted that production changes have been made at the point of manufacture without the local Australian supplier being aware.
Last year, we focused on sampling suppliers of LED lighting for domestic use, and looked at the supply of industrial and commercial LED globes. This year, we will expand our industry engagement, including working with the Lighting Council Australia to help educate LED globe suppliers of the technical standards and supplier requirements that they must meet, as well the consequences of non-compliance.
Working together with industry to improve compliance
Over the forthcoming year, we will be working closely with industry in order to improve compliance. We will be providing practical advice to suppliers and radiocommunications licensees about how they can reduce their risk. So watch this space!
For regular updates on compliance issues, follow @acma_operations on Twitter
Read about the 2014–15 PCAs.