The Australian Government sets the regulatory framework for the telecommunications industry, which is enforced by the regulator for the communications sector, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Companies must comply with the below legislation to operate in Australia:
- Telecommunications Act 1997—of particular relevance is Schedule 3 of the Act
- Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018
- Telecommunications Code of Practice 2018
- Radiocommunications Act 1992
- Radiocommunications (Compliance Labelling – Electromagnetic Radiation) Notice 2014
- Radiocommunications (Electromagnetic Radiation – Human Exposure) Standard 2014
- Radiocommunications Equipment (General) Rules 2021
There is also an industry mechanism:
The Government is not involved in any commercial decisions made by telecommunication carriers. Carriers decide where they deploy infrastructure, including the type of equipment and technology they use.
The regulations are designed to strike the right balance between the community's need to access reliable, affordable telecommunications services and ensuring that property owners, local governments and communities have a say in the deployment of infrastructure that affects them.
- The Telecommunications Act gives carriers powers to enter land, and install and maintain some facilities, and provides some exemptions from some state and territory legislation. In certain circumstances land owners and occupiers have the right to be notified and to object under the Act.
- The Telecommunications Code of Practice 2018 sets out further obligations on carriers. For example, carriers, and their contractors, must comply with good engineering practices and consider noise limits, the environment and obstruction of essential services when installing or maintaining facilities.
- Low-impact facilities are needed for networks to provide wider coverage and services, and may be installed under the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018. The type, size, colour and location limitations of low-impact facilities means that carriers can rollout networks with as little disruption to the community as possible.
- Carriers installing low-impact facilities must also comply with the additional requirements in the Industry Code for Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment C564:2020. The Code is designed to provide greater transparency to local community and councils, and allow the community and councils greater participation.
How to make a complaint
Concerns about carrier activities should be raised with the carrier in the first instance, and then the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman provides an independent and accessible external dispute resolution service for residential consumers and small businesses who have an unresolved complaint about their phone or internet service.
If concerns are not resolved to satisfaction, a complaint can be raised with ACMA.
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