It is only a matter of time before the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) (Telco Act) is left stranded in the Triassic Period as the latest wave of innovative Internet-related technologies hit the market.
The Telco Act seeks to regulate carriers, carriage service providers and other telecommunication bodies. However, when the Telco Act first came into force in 1997, telephony was the only widespread and available communications service. Subsequent amendments to the Telco Act have done little to change this concept. As a result, there is some confusion as to how new technologies, such as voice over internet protocol (VoIP) among others, will apply to the Telco Act.
VoIP enables verbal conversations to be conducted in real time over the internet. While VoIP services usually operate over a telecommunications network and are therefore covered by the Telco Act, many VoIP services only operate over internet networks. In these circumstances, the service provider may fall outside the scope of the Telco Act.
Telecommunications is an area of continual evolution. Significant legislative reform is required in order for the Telco Act (or perhaps an entirely new piece of legislation) to keep pace with the regulatory challenges of contemporary telecommunication technologies.
This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters please contact our office on Freecall 1800 609 945 or email us now.