ACMA review of telecommunications customer cabling regulation

In BICSI Bytes, Newsby info@bicsi.com.au

Last month, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) released a Consultation Paper calling for industry feedback and opinions on the current customer cabling regulatory framework.

The ACMA noted that the policy and legislative basis for customer cabling regulation had not changed since its inception in the 90’s, but that the technical and commercial environment around it had seen significant changes in recent years, warranting an industry review.

Given the extent of developments within the telecommunications industry, the ACMA stated that it is timely to ask whether the risks that regulation was originally intended to mitigate are still present, asking: “If the risks remain, do they still require regulation and, if so, of what type and to what extent?

BICSI South Pacific has a vested interest in the customer cabling regulatory framework, with BICSI Registered Cablers Australia (BRCA) being one of the five appointed registrars for the ACMA since 2000. BICSI is actively formulating a position on this Paper to make a formal submission to the ACMA by the closing date of 20 December 2018.

A committee of BICSI members have been reviewing the document over the past two weeks with a view to submit a formal response to the Paper. The current consensus amongst our committee is to advocate retaining cabling regulation and adjusting the mandatory criteria to address current and future known technologies, applications and trends that were never factored in the original regulatory framework. With the recent introduction of technologies that put hazardous network voltages on cabling infrastructure such as remote powering and PoE, we may see a need to actually increase the degree of regulations, rather than reducing regulations as some have suggested.

We encourage all BICSI members to download and read the Paper. Click here to download it from the ACMA web site.

We urge you to contact the BICSI office with your views and comments to include in the consolidated BICSI submission. We anticipate many members contacting us to make comments, and all are encouraged to do so. The broader the comments, the more comprehensive our submission.

Alternatively, you can also make your own personal submission to the ACMA, outlining your own views in regulatory reform to keep the cabling regulations relevant to the current industry conditions. The ACMA has advised us that it will adopt what the majority of the industry wants, so it is vital that as many members of the ICT industry convey their views for regulations that are more relevant to ensure our industry remains professional and safe.

The ACMA further outlined that this review only addresses the regulation of cabling work performed by cabling providers, not the supply of telecommunications customer equipment and cabling products. These will be addressed at a later stage following the development of the Equipment Rules, which are anticipated to be required under the new Radiocommunications Bill.

The ACMA welcomes comments from stakeholders on the issues raised in the Paper, which includes responding to a series of questions posed in it, including a proposed reform model for future customer cabling regulation.

The outcomes of the review will assist the ACMA to:

·         Ascertain whether the existing arrangements will continue to provide the most effective approach for managing the risks associated with customer cabling;

·         Identify whether there are any issues or concerns with the existing arrangements; and

·         Assess whether there are better regulatory, co-regulatory, or non-regulatory options available in light of current and emerging developments within the communications environment.

If you wish to discuss anything related to this :Paper, feel free to contact the BICSI office at your convenience.