ISPs need more time for data retention compliance: Comms Alliance

Data retention costs could drive smaller ISPs out of business

Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton has called on the federal government to extend the deadline for ISPs to develop data retention implementation plans.

Data retention obligations begin on 13 October. ISPs who are not able to comply with the regime by this date need to submit an implementation plan to the Attorney General’s Department detailing how they intend to become compliant within 18 months.

To be confident about getting their plan approved, service providers need to submit the implementation plan by 13 August.

Speaking at the CommsDay Wholesale and Data Centre Summit in Sydney, Stanton said there is an “enormous groundswell of concern” amongst smaller providers about understanding the requirements of the data retention legislation, obtaining enough information from the AGD and completing the work.

“We are getting to the point where the government needs to do one of two things,” he said. “It either needs to roll back the deadlines for those implementation plans or make it very clear that they will exercise regulatory forbearance and not move against those players who may be in breach by not getting their plans in time for the deadline

Stanton also raised concerns about the allocation amongst ISPs of $131.3 million for capital costs related to getting the scheme up and running.

“They [ISPs] have no idea how much of that money is going to be reimbursed by government and they potentially have to commit funds to develop systems. That is an untenable situation to put imposts on industry without any indication of how much [money] they have to stump up.”

He warned that some small ISPs may go out of business in trying to meet data retention compliance obligations.

“This is a scenario that could easily tip providers into negative revenue or profit. We are hearing noises from people saying `I might as well shut up shop tomorrow.’”.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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