Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Consultation on possible amendments to telecommunications carrier powers and immunities

The Australian Government is seeking comments on possible amendments to telecommunications carrier powers and immunities.

Why we want your input

We want your feedback on whether the proposed changes to telecommunications carrier powers and immunities should proceed, and if so, in what form.

How you can voice your opinion

You can have your say by providing a written submission by 11pm Friday 21 July 2017.

What will be the outcome of this consultation?

Your submission will help the Minister decide whether possible changes to carrier powers and immunities should proceed, and, if so, what any amendments should look like.

The Issue

The Australian Government is seeking comments on possible amendments to telecommunications carrier powers and immunities.

We need your feedback on proposals from telecommunications carriers to amend the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 1997, the Telecommunications Code of Practice 1997 and potentially, Schedule 3 to the Telecommunications Act 1997 (the Act). The Government is seeking community feedback on the proposals to assist it in deciding on the way forward.

To help provide better telecommunications services more quickly and cost effectively, telecommunications carriers have powers and immunities under Schedule 3 to the Act. These powers and immunities help them install and maintain telecommunications network facilities.

Most aspects of carrier powers and immunities have been in place since 1997. Since then, communications technologies have evolved rapidly, and demand for services and data has increased dramatically.

Telecommunications carriers have proposed that powers and immunities should be amended to reflect new technologies and work practices and reduce regulatory costs. The proposed changes will ensure that carriers can better meet the needs of consumers at lower cost. They would clarify the operation of some existing powers and immunities, allow some new types of facilities, make changes to some existing facility types, and streamline land owner notification and objection rules.

Where carrier powers and immunities do not cover current technologies and work practices, carriers are typically required to seek planning approval for their activities under differing state and territory planning laws. These approval processes can significantly increase the time and costs for carriers to install facilities that are important for improving telecommunications services to the community and businesses.

Background information:

Relevant Documentation

Consultation paper: Possible amendments to telecommunications carrier powers and immunities

Published 9th Jun 2017

Download PDF (1.06 MB) Download DOC (2.33 MB)

This paper sets out possible amendments to the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 1997, the Telecommunications Code of Practice 1997 and Schedule 3 of the Telecommunications Act 1997.

Mark-up of possible amendments to the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 1997 

Published 9th Jun 2017

Download PDF (648.82 KB) Download DOC (95.94 KB)

This document shows the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 1997 if amended as proposed. This document does not meet WCAG 2.0 requirements. For an accessible copy please phone 02 6271 1569.

Mark-up of possible amendments to the Telecommunications Code of Practice 1997 

Published 9th Jun 2017

Download PDF (1.4 MB) Download DOC (118.18 KB)

This document shows the Telecommunications Code of Practice 1997 if amended as proposed. This document does not meet WCAG 2.0 requirements. For an accessible copy please phone 02 6271 1569.

Submission template 

Published 9th Jun 2017

Download PDF (516.33 KB) Download DOC (25.74 KB)

Please use this template when responding to this consultation. When you have completed this template, you can upload it through the 'Have your say now' button below.

Outcome

We received 81 non-confidential submissions from a range of stakeholders which are available below.

After considering this feedback, the Minister for Communications agreed to remake the Low Impact Facilities Determination and the Telecommunications Code of Practice with nine of the 24 proposed changes. The remade instruments are now available on the Federal Register of Legislation and are referred to as the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018 (LIFD) and the Telecommunications Code of Practice 2018 (Code). They will commence the day after they are registered. A summary of the nine amendments is available in the table below.

A further change to allow for temporary facilities in certain circumstances (item 22) is also supported. This will require an amendment to the Act and will be progressed subject to the usual requirements that apply to legislative changes.

We are discussing further with stakeholders the other amendments proposed as well as other issues raised in the consultation process.

The Government will provide a further update on developments in this area later this year.

Find out more:

Minister's media release

Amendments to the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facility) Determination

Item Reference / Amended provisions
1 Definition of co-located facilities: Clarifies that facilities are only ‘co-located facilities' if they are installed on/in a telecommunications facility or public utility structure (as opposed to on/in another type of building).
3 Shrouds for radiocommunications facilities: Specifies that shrouds for radiocommunications facilities are ancillary facilities.
6 Omnidirectional antennas: Specifies omnidirectional radiocommunications antennas as low-impact facilities in residential and commercial areas, not just industrial and rural areas.
7 Radiocommunications facilities: Replaces the technology-specific term ‘microcell' with general language to cover facilities with broader geographical coverage.
12 Solar panel size: Increases the maximum size of solar panels in rural areas used to power telecommunications facilities from 7.5 to 12.5 square metres.
13 Open trench length: Increases the length of trench that can be open at any time for the installation of conduit or cable from 100 to 200 metres.
16 Environmental legislation: Updates to reflect changes in environmental laws.

Amendments to the Telecommunications Code of Practice

Item Reference / Amended provisions

17

Joint venture arrangements: Provides that in a joint venture arrangement where two carriers are installing or upgrading facilities, only the lead carrier's signature is required on relevant documentation, with an additional requirement to be included so that a notice includes the names and contact details of all carriers party to the joint venture

20

Updates to references: Updates to out-of-date wording and references in the Code.

The amendments do not affect rules relating to exposure to electromagnetic energy. All radiocommunications facilities must operate below the exposure limits set out in the Radiocommunications (Electromagnetic Radiation – Human Exposure) Standard 2014 and the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Apparatus Licence) Determination 2015. The limits are based on the Radiation Protection Standard – Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields – 3 kHz to 300 GHz. Typically facilities operate at a small percentage of allowable exposure levels.

Participate

09 Jun 2017 09:30 AEST
21 Jul 2017 17:00 AEST
Closed
This consultation is closed.

Submissions

Yarra Valley Water
Document
Wyndham City Council
Document
Water Services Sector Group
Document
Water Services Association of Australia
VicRoads
Document
Urban Development Institute of Australia
Uniti Wireless Pty Ltd
Document
United Energy
Document
Tweed Shire Council
Document
TransGrid
Document