Outcome of this consultation
The ACMA is responsible for the technical regulation—including compliance and labelling arrangements and technical standards—of telecommunications customer equipment and customer cabling under Part 21 of the Telecommunications Act 1997.
The telecommunications regulatory arrangements impose obligations (including for labelling and record keeping) on a supplier of specified telecommunications items before the item is supplied to the Australian market. The obligations are detailed in the:
- Telecommunications (Labelling Notice for Customer Equipment and Customer Cabling) Instrument 2015 (the labelling notice) made by the ACMA under section 407 of the Act
- telecommunications technical standards made by the ACMA under section 376 of the Act (ACMA technical standards).
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 labelling notice addresses these risks by imposing obligations on a supplier, both before and after, the item is supplied. These requirements are intended to provide confidence to the ACMA, network operators and the public, that items supplied in Australia comply with applicable technical standards, and that the supplier of the item has taken appropriate steps to ensure the item is compliant.
The ACMA technical standards adopt specified industry standards published by Communications Alliance and Standards Australia ‘in full’. That is, all substantive requirements and test methodologies form part of the mandatory requirements.
Proposed ACMA technical standards
Mobile Equipment Standard 2018
The ACMA mandates a three-part industry standard that deals with the general requirements and test methods for customer equipment used in wireless connection (or air interface) to a telecommunications network. These requirements are detailed in the following industry standards published by Communications Alliance:
- AS/CA S042.1:2015 – Requirements for connection to an air interface of a Telecommunications Network – Part 1: General
- AS/ACIF S042.3:2005 – Requirements for connection to an air interface of a Telecommunications Network – Part 3: GSM Customer Equipment
- AS/CA S042.4:2015 – Requirements for connection to an air interface of a Telecommunications Network – Part 4: IMT Customer Equipment.
The first of these industry standards sets out general requirements for mobile and satellite phones, such as dialing of emergency call services and acoustic safety requirements. The requirements in the other two industry standards are specific to the type of network such as GSM (or 2G) and IMT (or 3G/4G) networks.
Communications Alliance has revised the general requirements as well as requirements for IMT (3G/4G) networks. The revisions address emerging wireless technology developments, including Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) services, as well as other changes in technology including 4G (LTE) mobile networks.
The ACMA proposes to remake the existing ACMA technical standard to adopt the revised industry standards.
The draft Telecommunications (Mobile Equipment Air Interface) Technical Standard 2018 is available in the Downloads box above, and:
- includes provisions allowing for transition periods where the referenced industry standards are amended or replaced
- includes savings and transitional arrangements relating to items manufactured, imported or modified before the commencement of the new ACMA technical standard
- removes the requirements for GSM customer equipment, as this type of equipment is no longer supplied in Australia
- adopts the standard AS/CA S042.1:2018 – Requirements for connection to an air interface of a Telecommunications Network – Part 1: General
- adopts the standard AS/CA S042.4:2018 – Requirements for connection to an air interface of a Telecommunications Network – Part 4: IMT Customer Equipment.
Customer Equipment Safety Standard 2018
In 2011, the ACMA mandated an industry standard (AS/NZS 60950.1:2011) dealing with safety requirements for information technology equipment. These safety requirements apply to telecommunications customer equipment. This industry standard was revised by Standards Australia in 2015.
In 2018, Standards Australia developed a new industry standard (AS/NZS 62368.1:2018) dealing with the safety requirements for audio/video and communications technology equipment including telecommunications customer equipment. This new industry standard will replace the information technology standard in four years.
The objective of the 2018 AS/NZS 62368 industry standard is to establish minimum safety requirements for the design, construction and operation of electrical and electronic equipment within the field of audio, video, information and communication technology, and business and office equipment. It sets out requirements intended to ensure the safety of the operator and other people who may come into contact with the equipment (that is, ‘ordinary persons’) and, where specifically stated, maintenance and service personnel (that is, ‘instructed persons’ and ‘skilled persons’). The 2018 AS/NZS 62368 industry standard is intended to be a replacement of the 2015 AS/NZS 60950 industry standard.
The 2018 AS/NZS 62368 industry standard is an adoption, with national modifications, of IEC 62368-1, Ed.2.0 (2014). The Australian/New Zealand variations in the industry standard are taken from the national differences between IEC 60950-1, Ed. 2.2 (2009) and AS/NZS 60950.1:2015.
The ACMA is proposing to make a technical standard to adopt both the 2015 AS/NZS 60950 industry standard and the 2018 AS/NZS 62368 industry standard.
The draft Telecommunications (Customer Equipment Safety) Technical Standard 2018 is available in the Downloads box above, and:
- adopts the adopts the 2015 SA standard AS/NZS 60950.1:2015 – Information technology equipment – Safety General requirements
- adopts the 2018 SA standard AS/NZS 62368.1:2018 – Audio/Video and Communications technology equipment – Part 1: Safety requirements
- provides a transition period ending in February 2022, during which time relevant customer equipment may comply with either the 2015 AS/NZS 60950 industry standard or the 2018 AS/NZS 62368 industry standard
- includes provisions allowing for transition periods where the 2018 AS/NZS 62368 industry standard is amended or replaced
- outlines savings and transitional arrangements relating to items manufactured, imported or modified before the commencement of the new ACMA technical standard.
Naming the ACMA technical standards
Historically, the ACMA has named its technical standards to replicate the name of the underlying industry standard. This naming convention has led to confusion and, in most instances, significantly reduced the visibility of the ACMA technical standard to relevant industry participants.
During the development of these standards, the ACMA has taken a different approach in naming its technical standards, with titles that are more practical and relevant to industry. The proposed titles of these new technical standards are:
- Telecommunications (Mobile Equipment Air Interface) Technical Standard 2018
- Telecommunications (Customer Equipment Safety) Technical Standard 2018.
Proposed amendments to the Telecommunications Labelling Notice
Schedule 1 of the labelling notice lists the applicable technical standards for customer equipment. It is proposed that the ACMA amend Schedule 1 of the labelling notice to reference the new ACMA technical standards. It is also proposed that the labelling notice be amended to contain transitional arrangements (proposed Division 3 of Part 7 of the labelling notice) that apply where ACMA technical standards are repealed and replaced by another ACMA technical standard.
Cabling-related customer equipment
An anomaly has also been discovered in the labelling notice that has the effect of excising cabling-related customer equipment from having to comply with the requirements of Schedule 4 of the labelling notice—‘Customer cabling and surge protectors’.
The types of cable-related customer equipment can include, but is not limited to, cable enclosures, patch panels, termination modules (for example, ‘Krone’ modules), conduit, and telecommunications wall sockets.
Cabling-related customer equipment was previously included in the Telecommunications Labelling (Customer Cabling and Customer Equipment) Notice 2001 (Schedule 1, Part 2, Category A22). However, Schedule 4 to the labelling notice inadvertently omitted these types of equipment and specifies the compliance and labelling requirements applicable only to customer cabling and surge protectors.
It is proposed that this unintentional omission be corrected by including a definition of ‘cabling-related customer equipment’, and by changing the provisions and other parts of the labelling notice that reference the term ‘customer cabling and surge protectors’, to include ‘cabling-related customer equipment’.
A draft marked-up version of the labelling notice, with the proposed changes, is available for comment in the Downloads box above.
Issue for comment
Opportunity to provide feedback
The ACMA welcomes comments from stakeholders on the ACMA’s proposal to remake these telecommunications standards and amend the labelling notice.
Second round of consultation
During the recent consultation on telecommunications customer equipment standards and associated amendments to the Telecommunications (Labelling Notice for Customer Equipment and Customer Cabling) Instrument 2015 (TLN), the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) approached the ACMA about the continued relevance of Recognised Testing Authorities (RTAs) under the Telecommunications Act 1997.
NATA maintains a list of RTAs on its website but is concerned about the feasibility of maintaining a list that is both current and accurate. Accreditations are granted by accreditation bodies that are signatories to the APLAC and ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangements and, hence, outside of NATA’s direct control.
The ACMA has reviewed the TLN and identified that the only time where RTAs are required is in relation to an IECEE CB test report for compliance with the electrical safety standard. If using the CB test report as evidence of compliance with the safety standard, suppliers must also have either a statement prepared by an RTA or by an Issuing and Recognizing National Certification Body (NCB) that operates in Australia.
After considering the existing requirements, the ACMA considers that the RTA and NCB requirements are neither necessary nor practicable. Accordingly, the ACMA now proposes to amend section 20(2)(a)(i)(C) of the TLN to remove the requirement to have a statement from a NCB or a RTA in relation to IECEE CB test reports and certificates.
Below is the text from Section 20 of the TLN showing the proposed amendments.
20 Declaration of conformity
(1) A manufacturer or importer of an item must, before supplying the item, ensure that a declaration of conformity for the item has been completed in accordance with section 6.
Note 1 These documents are to be kept in accordance with this Part and made available in accordance with Part 6.
Note 2 If the item is a modified item, Division 4 also applies.
(2) For the purposes of subparagraphs 6(b)(vi) and (vii):
(a) a person can only be reasonably satisfied that an item complies with a high risk applicable technical standard if:
(i) there is:
(A) an endorsed test report;
(B) a statement prepared by a certification body;
(C) an IECEE CB Test Report that is accompanied by an IECEE CB Test Certificate
, as well as a statement prepared by an Issuing and Recognizing NCB that operates in Australia or a recognised testing authority; or
(D) a certificate issued under a law of a State or Territory that deals with the safety of electrical equipment;
containing information that indicates that the item or (if the item is included in a class of items) an item of the class complies with the high risk applicable technical standard; and
(ii) the person has had regard to the document or documents;
As the ACMA is already considering other amendments to the TLN, we welcome your comments regarding this additional proposed change so that all amendments can be completed at the same time.
Please provide any submissions or comments by COB Friday 2 November 2018.