Aussie internet provider penalized for “public safety failures”-Xinhua

SYDNEY, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — Telecommunications company Aussie Broadband has been fined 213,120 Australian dollars (about 145,504 U.S. dollars) for “large-scale breaches of rules” that protect the safety of Australians.

In a press release on Tuesday, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said it found the company failed to provide customer information to the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) on more than 30,000 occasions between November 2021 and May 2022.

Under the Australia’s Telecommunications Act and the IPND industry code, all telcos are required to upload customer details, such as name and phone number, which can assist emergency services to warn of danger, locate people and assist law enforcement activities.

But Aussie Broadband, ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said, didn’t upload information to the secure database for over 6 months, which is a “unacceptable” failure and “potentially puts its customer’s safety at risk.”

The industry watchdog also directed the internet provider to comply with the data rules, or the company will risk further action, including penalties of up to 250,000 Australian dollars (about 170,403 U.S. dollars) per breach.

Since 2018, the ACMA said it has taken action against 30 telcos for non-compliance with the IPND rules, including giving remedial directions and nearly 4 million Australian dollars (about 2.7 million U.S. dollars) in penalties.

According to the latest NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report released by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in August, though Telstra, TPG, Optus and Vocus dominated over 80 percent of Australia’s wholesale market, smaller broadband providers continued to expand their business, whose growth was led by Aussie Broadband with a 6.4 percent market share.

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