OAIC Decision in Ben Grubb Case

On 1 May 2015 the OAIC handed down its decision on whether journalist Ben Grubb could claim a right of access against Telstra to all the metadata information Telstra stored about him in relation to his mobile phone service.

Our client alert on the decision can be found here.

Government not proceeding with carriers licensing exemption proposed to improve telco infrastructure

As outlined in our September Update, the Government released a consultation paper proposing a carrier licensing exemption designed to make it easier for carriers to use private telecommunications infrastructure. Six submissions were received. The Government has decided not to go ahead with the exemption as there was no great demand. Parties may still seek specific exemptions if they so choose.

The submissions received, consultation paper and Department of Communications media release can be found here.

Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015

As reported in our March Update, the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 was introduced to allow the owner of copyright to apply to block overseas websites used for downloading and uploading infringing content. The Bill was referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee. The Committee is due to report on 9 June 2015.

The Committee's webpage related to the bill can be viewed here.

Review of Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) by Department of Communications

The Department of Communications has released a report reviewing the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) and providing nine recommendations for the future use of the database which contains all Australian telephone numbers and their associated name, address, type of service and service provider.

The Department of Communications' media release and report can be found here.

Senate report on the Broadcasting and Other Legislation Amendment (Deregulation) Bill 2014

The Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee has released its report on the provisions of the Broadcasting and Other Legislation Amendment (Deregulation) Bill 2014. The Bill primarily addresses the change over to digital-only television, repealing some ACMA spectrum frequency planning obligations and captioning requirements. The committee recommended that the Bill be passed subject to amending it to require the ACMA to review the operation of the captioning requirements under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 by 31 December 2018.

The report can be found here.

Government releases Spectrum Review Report

The Department of Communications has released a report it prepared in conjunction with the ACMA on how to improve Australia's spectrum management framework. Their recommendations include streamlining legislation, improving the integration of the management of the public sector and broadcasting spectrum and reviewing spectrum pricing for transparency and consistency. The Government will release a statement on the report after consideration.

The media release and report can be found here.

Feedback on the report can be sent to spectrumreview@communications.gov.au  

Telecommunications infrastructure to be provided in new real estate developments for fair competition

The Minister for Communications, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, has released a new Government policy providing for telecommunications infrastructure in new real estate developments, in order to foster fair competition between network providers. The NBN, which previously provided infrastructure free of charge to developers, will now charge fees in order to enable other providers to compete fairly.

The media release and report can be found here.

Additonal MHz, re-allocation and competition limits for regional 1800 MHz spectrum band auction

The Government has announced that an additional 2 x 60 MHz of spectrum will be made available to support mobile broadband services in regional Australia. The ACMA will be able to replan the regional 1800 MHz spectrum to accommodate for mobile broadband services under spectrum licensing arrangements following a re-allocation declaration that has been made. The ACMA is planning to hold an auction for the spectrum in November 2015 and set a maximum amount of spectrum to be purchased by each participant of 2 x 25 MHz as a competition limit, as directed by the Government on advice from the ACCC. The re-allocation process will involve current users of the spectrum needing to vacate it temporarily and the process is estimated to be completed around June 2017.

The Minister for Communications' media release can be found here.

Mobile call and SMS terminating charges in draft ACCC decision

The ACCC has released a draft decision setting regulated prices that mobile network operators can charge for receiving SMS messages for the first time, as well as receiving calls from each other and fixed-line network operators.  The draft decision proposes that the price for terminating calls on Australian mobile networks should be reduced from 3.6 cents per minute to 1.61 cents per minute and that the price for an Australian mobile network to receive an SMS should be 0.03 cents per SMS. The ACCC proposes that these regulated prices take effect from 1 January 2016 to 30 June 2019 and has also released the WIK-Consult report detailing the international benchmarking study that the proposed prices are based on.

The ACCC expects to release a final decision on mobile termination prices in July 2015.

The ACCC's media release can be found here and further information here.