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Issue No 26: 31 August 2015

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ACMA Review – Communications Alliance Calls for Structural Change and Continued Improvement in Industry Engagement


A move to a stronger, full-time Authority and continued enhancement of industry engagement are among the recommendations of the Communications Alliance submission to the Department of Communications (DoC) review of the ACMA.

The Comms Alliance submission highlights that the current regulatory and legislative framework does not spell out clear objectives for the ACMA. The submission proposes that the regulator’s objectives be that it will:

  1. Maintain a bias against intervention, driven by a positive obligation to deregulate;
  2. Achieve a culture of continuous self-improvement; and
  3. Remain committed to facilitating competition in the telecommunications and other regulated sectors

The submission proposes that the Authority (presently composed of a mixture of full and part-time Members) be composed of five Full-Time Members, to deepen the expertise in specific areas of the ACMA’s operations. It suggests that the current Chair/CEO role be split into its two parts and that the CEO become an ex-officio member of the Authority.

The submission contends that the Chair/CEO separation would enable the CEO to focus on driving greater operational efficiencies, creating a self-improvement culture and managing performance against the new Regulator Performance Framework (RPF) self-assessment criteria.

In it submission Communications Alliance applauds the Authority for a program of enhanced industry engagement, commenced in early 2015 and makes a series of suggestions for further improvement.

It argues strongly for the ACMA to be properly resourced to meet its spectrum management and international engagement obligations and highlights a number of functions – including numbering and research – that might be considered for re-focusing or divestment.


Department of Communications Migration Assurance Policy to the Fixed Line National Broadband Network


Communications Alliance has provided a submission to the Department of Communications on its draft Migration Assurance Policy (MAP). The MAP takes a customer-centric approach to the migration process, with its goals being to minimise disruption to end users, prioritise continuity of service and target vulnerable end users for assistance in moving to the fixed line national broadband network (NBN).

Communications Alliance is generally supportive of the MAP, finding it is a well-structured and readable policy and supporting framework. In its submission, Communications Alliance points to areas where communication timings and strategies may be tightened, and notes that security systems ought to be included in the list of critical over-the-top legacy services.

Communications Alliance has worked closely with industry in the development of the NBN Migration Management Guideline (G652:2014) and will continue to do so when considering any updates to existing documents that may be required as a result of the MAP. The NBN Over The Top Services Transition Working Group, responsible for the development of the medical/security alarm migration Industry Guidance Note, has also been reconvened to further address items raised by the MAP.


New Member

Communications Alliance is pleased to welcome the following new member;

Southern Phone Company

www.southernphone.com.au

southern-phone-logo

Southern Phone is the second largest provider of fixed line services and the fourth largest mobile phone provider in regional Australia (Research by Review Partners 2013).

Southern Phone was formed in 2002 to deliver more affordable telecommunications services to regional communities and now serves a national customer base, from Cape York to Zeehan in Tasmania, from Bega to Broome.

The company was funded by the Federal Government using money raised from the sale of Telstra to improve telecommunications services in regional Australia. That seed funding finished in 2004 and since then we have operated successfully and profitably, with all profits returned to the community.


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