Plans to merge the Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF) and the Service Providers Association (SPAN) have been approved. From September 1, the Communications Alliance will be Australia's new peak body for the communications industry.
The merger was agreed upon by vote at special general meetings, held by ACIF on July 26 and by SPAN yesterday. The current chief executive officer of ACIF, Anne Hurley, will maintain her executive position in the newly formed Alliance.
Although unable to discuss any specifics of the meetings, Hurley said that besides a positive response from their members, ACIF also received "overwhelming external support from external stakeholders" for the merger proposal.
The 10 staff and 65 members of ACIF will come together with SPAN's four staff and 75 members to form an alliance of 14 staff and 150 members. The Alliance will be headquartered at ACIF's current office in North Sydney.
After the launch, a transitional board, co-chaired by current ACIF chairman Neville Stevens and SPAN chairman John Kranenburg will govern the combined body.
A newly-elected 18-person board of management, which will also include representatives of comms service providers and nominated association members, will start on December 1 and will elect its own chair. Current members of ACIF and SPAN will be equally eligible for nomination to the Alliance's board of management.
Hurley said she looked forward to furthering the shared agenda of both ACIF and SPAN through the Alliance. One such goal is identifying the direction for future communications technology to lead the transition to next-generation networks.
"ACIF is an organization with a primary focus on bringing the industry together to promote self-governance," she said, explaining that most of ACIF's industry discussions come in the form of unbiased forums. "We are very much aligned with SPAN, [which] held a lot of forums as well."
"[The Communications Alliance] will continue to do that," she said, adding that with larger pool of members, "it will now be in a position to develop industry decisions for government policies".