Service Provider Survey Results Show Compliance Challenges for Data Retention Regime

Sydney, 13 October 2015  – A survey of Australian telecommunications service providers reveals a low state of readiness for the Federal Government's mandatory two year data retention regime, which comes into effect on 13 October.

In summary, the survey carried out by Communications Alliance and completed by 63 service providers by the survey deadline of 9 October, found that:

  • Over two thirds of providers were not confident at all or only somewhat confident that they had actually understood what exactly is required of them.
  • Only 16% are ‘ready’ to retain and encrypt the data as required.
  • 81% had lodged a Data Retention Implementation Plan or had indicated that they will still do so (10% of those had been approved).
  • 58% of providers estimated that their one-off set-up costs to comply with the regime will be somewhere between $10k-250k; another 24% estimated over $250k. Of those, 12% said it would be above $1m with some indicating ranges well above $10m.
  • 61% had lodged an application for exemption/variation or had indicated that they will still do so. Only 5% of those had been approved (subject to conditions which the Communication Access Coordinator within the Attorney General's Department can impose).

Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said the results highlighted the magnitude of the challenge ahead for all stakeholders if the industry was to achieve compliance with the new laws.

"It is no surprise that many service providers won't be compliant when the legislation comes into force - many of these because they are still waiting to hear from Government as to whether their implementation plans have been approved."

"All providers are still waiting to hear from Government as to how it will apportion the $131.3 million that has been pledged in assistance to partially meet the set-up costs that service providers - and ultimately their customers - are facing as a result of the regime."

"The Government has indicated it will consult with industry in coming weeks on how to apportion  the subsidy and this remains an urgent task, as service providers are now having to commit to investment decisions without knowing how much of that spending will remain unfunded."

"In light of the survey results, the onus remains on Government to work constructively with industry - and not rush to enforcement - over coming months to help providers come into line with what is proving to be a very challenging and somewhat confusing impost on the industry.".


Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.

Its vision is to provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about Communications Alliance, see

Media information contacts:

Communications Alliance
Hannah Ritchie
0452 404 303