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Submarine Cable Protection

Submarine Cable Protection

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Submarine Cable Protection

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  1. Submarine Cable Protection ACMA International Training Program 13 September 2006 Robyn Meikle, Manager

  2. Overview of presentation New legislation Information about submarine cables ACMA’s new responsibilities Compliance and enforcement

  3. National Bandwidth Inquiry 1999 Submarine cables carry 99% of Australia’s international voice and data traffic Recommended stronger protection and planning regime

  4. Legislation Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Protection of Submarine Cables and Other Measures) Act 2005 Relevant provisions comprise a new Schedule 3A to the Telecommunications Act 1997

  5. Purpose of new legislation Ensure security of submarine cables prohibit or restrict activities eg. dragging anchor, trawling, sand dredging Penalties as a disincentive to cause damage highest penalty is $66,000 or 10 years imprisonment ($330,000 for a body corporate)

  6. Submarine cable breakages 83% of breakages internationally occur at water depths less than 500 metres (65% at less than 100 metres depth) Eg. Trading ship dragged anchor off Sydney and broke Southern Cross cable and Tasman 1 in 2001 Eg. NSW trawl fishing broke Tasman 2 cable in 1997 Eg. Sand dredging broke SMW3

  7. Key submarine cables in service

  8. ACMA’s new responsibilities Declaring protection zones (PZ) over cables of “national significance” Varying or revoking a PZ Issuing permits to install submarine cables in Australian waters (both in and outside PZ)

  9. Protection zones ACMA is proposing PZs for three cables of national significance Activities that could damage cables are to be prohibited or restricted

  10. PZ declaration process PZ proposals advertised for public comment Stakeholder consultation Advisory committee Environment Secretary consultation

  11. ACMA to issue installation permits • Carriers installing new submarine cables now need a permit from ACMA • Overall policy objective is to promote co-location of cables in PZs

  12. PZ offences – criminal penalties Person damages a cable in a PZ • 10 years imprisonment or $66,000 Person engages in prohibited or restricted activity • 5 years imprisonment or $33,000

  13. Compliance and enforcement • Australian Federal Police responsible for enforcement of criminal offences • Carriers and others can take “private right of action” to seek damages from a person who causes damage to a cable in a PZ

  14. For more information • www.acma.gov.au/subcables • International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) www.ispc.org