Issue No 21: 27 July 2020



Hot Topics
  • ACOMMS 2020: Winners Announced - 10 September 2020

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2020 ACOMMS Finalists Announced!

Communications Alliance is proud to announce the 2020 finalists in the communications industry’s premier awards for excellence, the ACOMMS, which recognise exemplary achievement across 11 categories of endeavour.

Winners will be announced at a virtual showcase event on Thursday 10 September 2020 culminating in the announcement of the 2020 Communications Ambassador.

The ACOMM Awards are proudly presented by Communications Alliance.  The MNF Group is the 2020 Title Sponsor of the ACOMMS, with Mirait Gold Sponsors, Bird & Bird, Bronze Sponsors and Cisco Digital Sponsor.

Media release

The 2020 ACOMM Awards finalists are:

Innovation (large)

  • Optus - Optus 5G Home Broadband
  • Cisco Systems - Cisco 8000 Series Routers and Cisco Silicon One
  • Vocus - Coral Sea Cable System
  • Telstra - Telstra 5G

Innovation (SME)

  • Matchboard - Matchboard matching platform
  • NNN Co -  Proximity Monitoring Solution
  • Beam Communications - ZOLEO Global Satellite Communicator
  • Express Virtual Meetings - vmeet.express video conferencing platform

Australian Space Industry Award

  • Myriota - Myriota
  • Optus - Optus Satellite
  • NBN - nbn™ Sky Muster™ Plus

Commitment to Customer Service

  • Optus - Messaging
  • Aussie Broadband - Changing the telco game
  • Vodafone Hutchison Australia - $10 Stay Connected Cap plan
  • Express Virtual Meetings  - Customer Service in Our Veins Since 2001

Diversity and Inclusion

  • Aussie Broadband - All the small things
  • ACCAN - Talking Telco
  • Vocus - Vocus 5 Weeks of Diversity    
  • Vodafone Hutchison Australia - Code Next

Services to Industry - Professional Services

  • ECConnect - Systemised Migration and Integration Services
  • King & Wood Mallesons    Legal service (innovation)
  • Maddocks - Legal Services
  • Telstra - Telstra Business Services

Best Mobile Solution

  • Optus - Optus 5G Home Broadband
  • Cisco Systems - Dual Security
  • Telstra - Mobile Worksuite
  • Telstra  - 5GWiFi Pro


  • Announced on the night

Community Contribution

  • Southern Phone - Southern Phone’s Emergency Bushfire Response
  • Cisco Systems - Inclusive Future; through giving back and tech for good
  • Optus - Optus Satellite Bushfire Assistance
  • NBN Co Limited  - COVID-19 - Supporting Australia is Our Priority

Vendor Innovation;

  • Cisco Systems - Cisco Packetised Fronthaul
  • Tata Consultancy Services - Secure Borderless Workspaces - SBWS™
  • Ericsson Australia - Container-based EPC for 4G and 5G services
  • Ericsson Australia - 2300MHz and 3500MHz dual-band 5G production network

Communications Ambassador

  • Announced on the night

Summary of Communications Alliance Opening Statement to the PJCIS

Review of the amendments made by the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018

Public Hearing Monday, 27 July 2020 – Debate over the appropriateness of Australia’s Assistance and Access Act has been long, passionate, complex and global in nature.

Throughout, this debate has been essentially about how best to balance three undeniably important, but not necessarily complementary, objectives.

These are:

  • the need for the security of our telecommunications networks, infrastructure and the communications transmitted across those networks to be protected from unauthorised access or interference;
  • the ability of our enforcement agencies to operate effectively in a digital environment where bad actors have increasingly employed encrypted communications to attempt to conceal their activities from authorities; and
  • the preservation of law-abiding citizens’ enjoyment of individual rights and freedoms, particularly the right to privacy and security of their private communications.

When attempting to balance these objectives, we have to be mindful of the risk that the legislation may generate unintended consequences, including the creation of new avenues for cybersecurity threats, for example through the weakening of encryption. The creation of such new avenues could not only pose dangers to individuals and the functioning of our digital society, but also undermine Government’s own ability to combat external threats and risks, as Atlassian mentioned earlier, damaging Australia’s growing, export-oriented technology sector.

From the outset, the legislation helped amass a very broad coalition of stakeholders, concerned that the provisions were disproportionate, dangerous, impractical and lacking in sufficient control and oversight of the activities of agencies.

The coalition included Australian and overseas members of civil society, academia, the cyber safety community and the communications and technology sectors.

While the legislation served to unify this alliance, it also drew a divide between alliance members, enforcement agencies and relevant Government departments.

Many amendments to the legislation have been proposed. Many of these were, in our view, well-considered and soundly based on experience from leading experts in communications network security. Very few of them were taken up.

During the three or more years this legislation has been in development and under scrutiny, (including via the good work of the PJCIS) and during the period of its passage through Parliament and time in the statutes, it has not proved possible for all parties to land on a sensible middle ground – a well-crafted amending package that does the best job possible of reconciling the competing objectives, we mentioned earlier.

We believe that the INSLM – in what he described as the most complex inquiry he has undertaken in the role – has constructed a package, within the recommendations of his report, that takes us closer to the desired sensible middle ground.

The inquiry, report and recommendations demonstrate the independence with which the INSLM and his team have approached the challenge and offer a path to a solution that almost certainly does not meet 100% of the aspirations of any of the stakeholder groups (including ours), but takes account of the legitimate priorities of all of those groups.

We support the INSLM’s report and the suite of recommendations contained therein. Nevertheless, it is useful to call out some recommendations as they have featured prominently in the public and/or stakeholder debate and which go more to the broader functioning of the assistance framework:

  • Perhaps most importantly, his recommendations (that is recommendations 3 to 6), if implemented, would for the first time provide for independent judicial oversight, authorisation and review of the requests and demands being made by enforcement agencies under the Act.
  • Also key are recommendations 8, 9 and 10, which, if implemented, would largely address the present dangers of lack of definitional clarity around the prohibited effects of agency requests. These recommendations also address a serious concern that the relevant powers give more discretion to enforcement and national security agencies than is reasonably necessary for the intended purpose, including scope to act in ways not contemplated or intended.
  • Recommendation 7 would assist with allaying concerns of proportionality by raising the threshold for offences to which assistance requests relate from three to seven years.
  • Recommendation 11, which by and large ensures that requests are being directed at an organisation rather than an individual employee, is key to not only improve on the practical challenges of the current legislation but also to limit unnecessary secrecy.
  • Finally, we warmly welcome the Monitor’s recommendation 24 to amend the legislation to allow future own motion reviews by the INSLM. The deep expertise and experience of the institution of INSLM in the area of national security legislation ought to be harnessed where required to ensure that the three competing objectives remain adequately balanced in the future. In the same vein, we welcome recommendation 30 to allow disclosure of information to the public when this is in the national or public interest

We hope that after due consideration, the PJCIS will be able to endorse the recommendations and will urge all political parties to implement them through the Parliamentary process.

We note that nbn™ is a member of Communications Alliance but has not been involved in the preparation of our submission and statement.

Telecommunications Industry Welcomes Consumer Safeguards Review

Industry looks forward to engaging with Government to develop a more agile, efficient and fit-for-purpose telecommunications consumer safeguards framework, Communications Alliance said following today’s release of the Part C Consumer Safeguards Review Consultation paper.

“The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have underscored the importance of telecommunications to Australians, and it is vital that the regulatory structure provides suitable safeguards while encouraging innovation” said Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton.

“Transformative communications technology and its changing and pervasive role in our lives will always create challenges for regulatory structures – particularly for legacy obligations that have been overtaken by developments. The Consumer Safeguards Review provides an opportunity to modernise and streamline the framework, to benefit consumers, industry and the broader economy,” Mr Stanton said.

“In the past decade, we have seen the real cost of telecommunications for consumers decrease significantly, alongside more flexible service plans and powerful, next-generation devices.

“The co-regulatory system in the Australian communications sector – in which Government can set objectives, industry and consumer experts can design the detail and regulators can scrutinise the outputs and enforce compliance - has served the nation well.

“We believe that both co-regulation and formal Government regulation have their place in a modern consumer safeguards framework – and that improvements can be made to the ways in which both forms of regulation are executed in Australia.

“We will work through the detail and the options in the document released today and engage constructively with all stakeholders, in pursuit of such improvement,” Mr Stanton concluded.

Submission on the Exposure Draft of Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment (Reform and Modernisation) Bill

The Satellite Services Working Group (SSWG) of Communications Alliance has welcomed proposed changes to the Radiocommunications Act, which it believes would offer greater certainty to Australian spectrum licence holders and help to attract more investment into the Australian satellite market.

The comments were contained in a Communications Alliance submission in response to the release of an exposure draft of the Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment (Reform and Modernisation) Bill.

The submission commented on numerous proposed changes to the legislation and also welcomed the proposed creation of a framework of more granular compliance tools to enable the industry regulator, the ACMA, to adopt more graduated compliance and enforcement responses when dealing with potential non-compliant activity by industry.

Comments Sought on Draft Industry Code Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment

DR C564:2020

The Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment Code is designed to:

  • allow the community and councils to have greater participation in decisions made by Carriers when deploying mobile phone base stations; and
  • provide greater transparency to local community and councils when a Carrier is planning, selecting sites for, installing and operating Mobile Phone Radiocommunications Infrastructure.

The obligations on Carriers set out in the Code are also meant to supplement existing regulatory and legislative requirements which Carriers abide by.

This revision relates to the issue of a temporary facility that is a low impact facility requiring amendments to the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018. This legislative update was not finalised prior to the 2018 revisions being completed. In order to not delay the registration of the 2018 Code, it was agreed at the time to delay the inclusion of obligations regarding temporary facilities until the changes to the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018 were completed.

The changes made to the 2020 version of the Code are specific to temporary facilities and will align the Code with the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018.

The 2020 revision of the Code incudes:

  • clarification that the Code does not apply to the activities that need to be carried out without delay under subclause 17 (6) of Schedule 3 to the Telecommunications Act 1997.
  • an updated definition for Temporary Mobile Phone Radiocommunications Infrastructure;
  • inclusion of Section 8 which sets out the public notification obligations for Temporary Mobile Phone Radiocommunications Infrastructure (temporary facilities) in operation for more than one month;
  • inclusion of Appendix D5 – showing the example template for a temporary facility notification sign on site; and
  • minor editorial amendments.

Information on the Working Committee which developed the variation, including the Terms of Reference, can be found here.

The draft Code and the submit comments form can be found here.

All submissions received will be made publicly available on the Communications Alliance website unless the submitter requests otherwise.


Comments Sought on Draft Industry Code Emergency Call Service Requirements

DR C536:2020

The Emergency Call Service Requirements Code is designed to ensure all end users of an Emergency Telephone Service have access to the Emergency Call Service (ECS) in case of emergencies or where a response is required from an Emergency Service Organisation.

The Code also ensures that the operational effectiveness of the Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Determination 2019 and significant obligations of Carriers and CSPs, in relation to the ECS, are clearly documented and understood.

The 2020 revision of the Code was undertaken to ensure alignment with changes made to the Determination and as part of the Codes scheduled review.
Changes were made to:

  • reflect obligations in the Determination;
  • align definitions with the Determination;
  • align processes with Emergency Call Service Protections Requirements Guideline (G644:2020) and the Triple Zero Disruption Protocol;
  • change arrangements in cases of significant network outage;
  • update the obligations for contact points to ensure consistency across stakeholders;
  • the information provided in the Appendices to ensure it is up to date and relevant.

Information on the Working Committee which developed the variation, including the Terms of Reference, can be found here.

The draft Code and the submit comments form can be found here.

All submissions received will be made publicly available on the Communications Alliance website unless the submitter requests otherwise.


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