Telco industry pushes for more deregulation

The Communications Alliance and the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) have both reacted positively to federal government moves to reduce regulations relating to the telco and broader communications industries.

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull and parliamentary secretary to the minister, Paul Fletcher, claim that the communications sector will save some $45 million every year from the repeal of more than 1000 pages of regulations.

During question time yesterday Turnbull cited examples relating to radio stations having to provide audited accounts to the Australian Communications and Media Authority and complaints handling by the ACMA.

"That is the sort of red tape that we are removing, and there are many other examples in the telecommunications sector as well," Turnbull said.

Communications sector-related reforms take up 44 pages of the Coalition's Omnibus Repeal Day (Autumn 2014) Bill 2014.

"The growth, influence and flow-on benefits of mobile telecommunications will be best supported and enhanced by markets which are not constrained by the weight of outdated costly regulation," AMTA CEO Chris Althaus said in a statement.

"At this stage, AMTA has proposed deregulation options that can be implemented in the short term, plus regulatory reforms that require a more comprehensive review of legislation and policy options," Althaus said.

Two short-term measures the organisation is advocating are the removal of identity checks when prepaid mobile services are purchased and premium SMS service reporting. Over the longer term AMTA wants a review of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 to streamline the regulatory framework governing spectrum allocation and licensing.

Communications Alliance chief executive John Stanton backed the government's 'omnibus' bill and said that Turnbull, Fletcher and the Department of Communications had engaged with industry to identify regulations that could be repealed.

Stanton backed the move to remove parts of the Telecommunications Act dealing with standard form agreements.

"We are also pleased with the streamlining of the requirements for carriage service providers to lodge access agreements with the ACCC, and with the newly created ability for Comms Alliance to amend Codes, rather than having to open them up for full revision," Stanton added in a statement.

The Comms Alliance indicated the organisation is interested in more complex deregulation reforms being included in the second repeal day.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon