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ACMA proposes triple zero requirement for satellite phones

Requirement would take effect 1 July this year.
ACMA proposes triple zero requirement for satellite phones

The government has proposed requiring access to triple-zero emergency services on satellite phones.

The requirement would take effect 1 July under a proposal by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to amend the Emergency Call Service Determination.

Most handheld satellite services in Australia can already access triple zero services, but it is not a requirement. The 2011-12 regional telecommunications review had raised concerns about the subject.

“This is particularly important in remote Australia, where satellite phones are commonly used as emergency devices,” the ACMA said.

“Satellite phone services cover the entire Australian landmass and have a similar functionality to terrestrial mobile phone services, including voice, SMS and data services. They play a valuable role in providing services in large parts of Australia that do not have terrestrial mobile coverage.”

The proposed rule would exempt certain high-level satellite services provided to commercial users such as the shipping, aeronautical or mining industry in cases where there’s little or no expectation that triple zero is accessible.

The exemption would not include satellite phones for the general public.

The ACMA asked for comments to the proposal by 28 March.

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