Memo to telcos: AS 3806 covers all your Code obligations

AS 3806 is an umbrella for the TCP Code

At a meeting the other day, someone used the expression ‘the parts of the TCP Code that the Australian Standard is relevant to’. It set us thinking, ‘What parts isn’t AS 3806 relevant to?’

From a service provider’s point of view, the answer is that all Code obligations are covered by the Standard.

We’ll explain why that’s so, and what it means for compliance.

About the Australian Standard

We’ve explained before that Australian Standard 3806 Compliance Programs is ‘the rules about the rules’. If a compliance program is required to be consistent with the Standard, then the Standard must underpin the entire program.

Why the Standard relates to the whole TCP Code

It’s simple.

  1. A service provider must have a Compliance Plan for all its obligations under the Code.
  2. The Compliance Plan must be consistent with the principles of the Australian Standard.

So the Compliance Plan covers the whole Code and the Standard covers the whole Compliance Plan. In fact, the definition of Compliance Plan builds in the requirement for consistency with the Standard.

Why would someone talk about ‘the parts of the TCP Code that the Australian Standard is relevant to’?

Well, some elements of the Code are not service provider obligations. For instance, there are provisions about the operations of Communications Compliance. These are not part of a provider’s Compliance Plan. (But compliance with CC’s lawful requirements will be.) So in that sense, it’s quite correct to talk of parts of the Code not being covered by the Standard.

Beyond that, there are a small number of Code provisions that specifically refer to the Standard. Some people might (wrongly) think that this implies that only those provisions that refer to the Standard are covered by the Standard. That’s a complete misreading of the Code. The fact is, if you need to comply with anything in the Code, it needs to be reflected in your Compliance Plan. And your Compliance Plan needs to reflect Australian Standard 3806.

About Peter Moon

A telco lawyer with a truckload of experience
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