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Useful information - Technology and telecommunications

Introduction

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is a government regulator of radio communications and telecommunications.

The ACMA works closely with the communications industry to achieve active self-regulation, while ensuring industry compliance with licence conditions, codes and standards and monitoring the effect of regulations to ensure they are responsive to the community's needs.

The ACMA also regulates use of the radio frequency spectrum to minimise interference, which can disrupt communications.

For the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games the ACMA will provide a telecommunications and radio communications environment that will:

a. facilitate efficient and effective access to the radio frequency spectrum for Games purposes;
b. seek to ensure that the opportunity for harmful interference to radio communications for the Games is minimised; and
c. seek to ensure compliance with regulatory standards in relation to telecommunications and radio communications equipment used for Games purposes.


INFORMATION FOR VISITORS TO AUSTRALIA

Although an item of equipment may be safe to operate in one particular country, it is not necessarily safe to operate that same piece of equipment in another country. Differences in technical arrangements between countries (such as difference in power supply voltage or frequency, or a difference in operating frequency of a radio device) can lead to significant problems both to the equipment operator or other persons within the equipments area of influence.

Under some circumstances, operation of equipment such as cordless telephones, facsimile machines, wireless microphones, fixed or laptop computers, or other similar equipment may cause radio communications interference or even endanger the health or safety of the operator or others.

Therefore if you intend bringing electronic equipment to Australia, you must operate that equipment in accordance with the appropriate Australian rules and regulations. Accordingly the ACMA requires the labelling of all telecommunications and certain radio communications devices to indicate their compliance with Australian rules and regulations. Please visit the ACMA Website for details.

Equipment compliance and labelling information has been detailed below.

Prohibited devices in Australia

The operation, supply or possession of the following devices has been declared prohibited by the ACMA. For further information visit the ACMA Website.
  • Mobile telephone jammers
  • Radionavigation-satellite service
  • Mobile phone booster amplifiers
1. VHF or UHF family radio service (FRS) or personal mobile radio (PMR 446) equipment
The use of VHF and UHF family radio service (FRS) or personal mobile radio (PMR 446) equipment is not permitted in Australia. These devices have the potential to cause interference to emergency services and other licensed radiocommunication systems and must not be used in Australia.

2. Cordless telephones
The ACA does not permit the use of cordless telephones within Australia unless they comply with the Australian Standards and display the A-Tick mark. If they are not appropriately labelled they have the potential to cause radio interference and may affect the integrity of the telecommunications network.

3. Mobile phones
Operation of mobile phones is permitted. You may be able to make arrangements with your communications carrier or service provider before you leave home to use your mobile phone in Australia under international roaming agreements. Australia uses GSM 900, GSM 1800, CDMA 800 and 3G systems.

Licensing arrangements

Each radio device you operate must be licensed.

If you wish to operate a radio device in Australia, you must have a radiocommunications licence.

Operation of your radio device may be affected by or cause interference to other communications and broadcasting devices if it is unlicensed. Operating an unlicensed device is an offence and under some circumstances may result in confiscation of equipment.

There are three types of radiocommunications licences apparatus licences, class licences and spectrum licences.

1. Class licence
Class licences are open standing authorities that allow anyone to operate particular radiocommunications equipment provided that the operation and the device are in keeping with the conditions of the licence. Class licences do not have to be applied for and no licence fees are payable. Equipment that is currently subject to class licensing in Australia includes citizen band radios, mobile phone handsets, cordless telephones, wireless LANs and a range of other low power devices, such as garage door openers.

2. Apparatus licences
If a class licence is not suitable for your device, you may require an apparatus licence.

Radiocommunications equipment typically authorised under an apparatus licence includes stations operating in the land mobile, broadcasting, amateur, maritime and aircraft services. Operation of equipment under an apparatus licence involves the payment of licence fees. Individual licences are issued to authorise the operation of equipment.

3. Spectrum licence
It is highly unlikely that visitors to Australia will have a need or be issued with a spectrum licence. For further information regarding spectrum licensing follow the link to the ACMA website listed below.

Games licensing arrangements

Games specific licensing arrangements have been put in place for visiting officials, teams and media organisations who are bringing or intend bringing communications equipment with them when they come to Australia for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

If you are in need of a licence, this step-by-step guide will assist you with your licence application and frequency requests.

Licensing guide

Australian or non-Australian organisations or bodies who wish to operate radiocommunications devices at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games must have a radiocommunications licence.

For Games related applications only

Visit the ACMA Website.

To apply for a licence you need to complete the Registration of Client form (RF 1) and the Radio Frequency Request form (RF 2) on your computer and either save it and email it to the ACMA, print it and fax to +61 3 9963 6989 or send it to the Commonwealth Games Project Team, PO Box 13120, Law Courts, Melbourne VIC, AUSTRALIA 8010.

You only need to register as a client with the ACA once. All subsequent requests for licences may be done by submitting the Frequency Request Form only.

The ACMA will acknowledge receipt of applications within five working days and advise applicants of licence fees payable prior to the issue of the licence.

Spectrum is a valuable resource and fees are intended to ensure a fair return to the Commonwealth for the private use of this valuable public resource. Licence fees are set having regard to the spectrum location, geographical location, amount of spectrum occupied and coverage area authorised by the licence. Fees are made up of two components, an issue fee and a spectrum access tax. The spectrum access component of the fee will be charged on a pro rata basis.

Commonwealth Games Associations or members of the print and photographic media may submit their requests through the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation Rate Card process.

COMPLIANCE

Australian compliance requirements

In Australia, certain telecommunications and radiocommunications devices require labelling which indicates compliance with standards applicable to them. Further information regarding Australia's compliance arrangements can be found on the ACMA Website.

Proposed special arrangements for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games

The ACMA mission for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games is to provide a reliable telecommunications and radiocommunications environment that allows the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation to stage the Games efficiently with reasonable safety for all stakeholders.

To facilitate this, the ACMA proposes to put in place Games specific procedures and requirements that will manage regulation of communications equipment and the radio frequency spectrum to be used for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. These special arrangements cover:
  • Radiocommunications devices
Telecommunications equipment and cabling
You must not connect equipment or cabling to a telecommunications network unless that equipment has been authorised for use in Australia.

Under some circumstances, operation of equipment such as facsimile machines, computer modems or any other device that is connected to a telecommunications network may affect the integrity of the network or endanger the health and safety of the operator or others.

The ACMA requires telecommunications equipment and cabling to be labelled to indicate compliance with Australian standards and regulations.

Proposed exemptions for non-Australian rights holder broadcasters (RHBs)

It is proposed to put in place temporary exemptions specifically for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games which would effectively exempt equipment and cabling used by non-Australian RHBs from compliance with standards for the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and Games venues only. These Games specific arrangements would also exempt RHBs from complying with the labelling requirements for equipment and cables.

Under the proposed arrangements, if you need to connect to an Australian telecommunications network, and your equipment is exempt from the requirement to be labelled to show compliance with Australian requirements, you must seek permission from Telstra to connect the equipment within Commonwealth Games venues.

Telstra is the Official Telecommunications Partner for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. You must discuss your options with Telstra before you connect equipment to the telecommunications network at the Games. For more information, contact Telstra.

Radiocommunications devices

To facilitate the legal use of unlabelled equipment brought into Australia by overseas organisations for their own use at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, the ACMA will be establishing an Equipment Testing Centre (ETC) near the International Broadcast Centre (IBC).

The ETC will be operational seven days prior to the opening of the Games and operate through to the closing of the Games.

All radiocommunications devices not labelled with the Australian C-Tick or A-Tick marks must be brought to the ETC for a spectrum impact assessment and to have a Games specific label attached.

All cordless cameras or radio microphones, irrespective of being labelled with the Australian compliance marks, must be brought to the ETC for spectrum impact assessment and labelling.

There is no charge for this service and it should take no more than 10 minutes

For further information visit the ACMA Website.

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