The communications and media sectors are playing a critical role in enabling Australian consumers, businesses and governments to communicate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response, the ACMA understands that it needs to continually review and adjust its work program to ensure these sectors can prioritize their business-critical functions:
- Delayed consultation processes for non-urgent matters such as the review of the Radiocommunications Act prohibitions/exemptions framework.
- Suspended consultation on proposed revisions to NBN consumer experience rules.
- Extended the time for submissions to the Spectrum Pricing Review.
- Suspended planned investigations into Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code compliance attestation rules.
- Implemented deferral or payment by installment arrangements for apparatus license renewals.
ACMA also reconsidering reporting requirements and timeframes for responses to statutory notices to ensure that affected regulated entities can focus on maintaining their services.
ACMA is responsible for protecting the Australian industry, consumers and audiences in areas that remain vital at this time—such as the accuracy of the news, interference management and the availability of support for consumers who may be experiencing financial hardship or may otherwise be vulnerable.
ACMA also recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic may create real difficulties for organizations to comply with their regulatory responsibilities, particularly in the short to medium term. This may be due to factors beyond their control, including the inability to access products and services from suppliers.
Where warranted, the ACMA will consider regulatory forbearance on a case-by-case basis. Any forbearance considered will be balanced against the potential risk of consumer harm, the seriousness of any breach of the law, efforts of organizations to comply and all other relevant considerations.
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