The Australia Communications Authority (ACA) will enforce on-the-spot fines to integrators caught contravening telecommunications standards, under a new scheme designed to simplify industry regulation.
The scheme introduces new penalty provisions that give the ACA the power to issue infringement notices for breaches of technical regulations. This will replace the need to prosecute members through the court system.
Penalties will be issued for unauthorised labelling and connection of telecommunications customer equipment or cabling, contravention of cabling provider rules, and contravention of labelling notice requirements and conditions applying to connection permits for telecommunications equipment or cabling.
The ACA claims that penalties imposed will differ significantly from maximum penalties imposed through the court system.
However, this does not mean that a penalty will automatically be imposed upon every infringement that occurs, according to the ACA manager of telecommunication standards, John Vardanega.
“These types of infringements are mostly errors, or something that has been overlooked,” he said. “Only rarely does someone intentionally break the law.”
In the case of an unintentional infringement, Vardanega claims, it is the ACA’s policy to negotiate a solution whereby the problem is corrected, rather than issue a fine on the spot.
“If the same infringement comes up again, or if the person refuses to negotiate, then we will impose a penalty.”
Director of network integrator Netlan, Gunter Baurhenn, believes the ACA is making the right move.
“It’s about time the ACA did this,” he said. “There are so many cable cowboys out there."
“We spend so much money becoming certified, and then these people come along and undercut our prices because they aren’t doing things by the book. An on-the-spot fine will hit them right in the hip pocket.”
Manufacturers, importers and network integrators can access information regarding mandatory technical standards and legislative instruments by visiting the ACA website at www.aca.gov.au and referring to the standards and compliance section.