The Convergence Review Interim Report recommendations put Australia at risk of missing the full benefit of the growth of the digital economy, Communications Alliance said today.
Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton welcomed elements of the draft report, and in particular the proposed move to a market-based approach to spectrum allocation – and acknowledged the difficulty and complexity of the issues with which the Review is grappling.
However, he expressed concern that the recommendation to expand Australian content requirements to cover new digital platforms and players may stifle the growth of innovative new content sources and place Australian content entrepreneurs at a global competitive disadvantage.
“The prospect of seeking to impose Australian content requirements on international content suppliers might also deter the supply of some sources of content to Australian consumers,” commented Mr Stanton.
“The beauty of the digital economy is the explosion of new content types and sources it engenders. A converged regulatory framework should celebrate and support that growth.
“Although the parameters around the proposed “Content Service Enterprise” regulation are not precisely defined in today’s report, there is a real risk that imposing old-style content requirements on emerging digital platforms will stifle growth,” Mr Stanton said.
Communications Alliance also expressed wariness about the recommendation for a new ‘super regulator’ to replace the ACMA, with very broad and so far undefined rule-making powers.
“The Convergence Review started with the objective of minimising regulation – we are concerned that some of its interim recommendations seem to be heading in the opposite direction.
“The interim report also does not appear to recognise the detrimental impact of some legacy telecommunications regulation which weighs heavily on converged telecommunications and internet companies also entering or playing in this converged content space,” said Mr Stanton.
ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE
Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.
Its vision is to provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.