The federal government is looking to amend the Communications Act to allow it to regulate the internet, despite the fact that it’s already doing that.
The federal Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield, is set to give a keynote speech at a Senate committee on Wednesday in which he is expected to argue that internet service providers should be able to charge internet users for the privilege of using their own networks, despite concerns that internet users are being forced to pay to access content.
It’s a line that has been widely supported by ISPs and other internet service operators, who have repeatedly told the Government that the internet should be free to everyone.
“We have seen that this has been the case for a long time, with legislation passed by the previous Liberal government in 2015 and the Abbott government’s first-ever omnibus telecommunications bill in 2019,” Communications Minister Mitch Fifrey said.
“This is about trying to get this legislation passed before the year 2020 to get the internet out to as many people as possible.”
But the Coalition has also received a boost in popularity, with more than three million people signing an online petition urging Mr Fifield to take the line, with nearly four million people joining the call for internet service to be regulated as a telecommunications service.
Internet users have repeatedly asked the Government to regulate broadband internet providers, as it is a “basic necessity for the internet to work properly”.
However, many ISPs and broadband providers have said that regulation of their services is unnecessary and would lead to too many new and complicated rules.
The Federal Government is already looking to regulate internet service, even though it already has the power to do soThe Communications Minister has said he will “revisit the Communications Bill in order to re-evaluate the position and bring forward legislation that can protect the interests of internet users”.
“We need to move beyond a narrow and narrow focus on ISPs and we need to reevaluate our approach to the regulation of broadband providers,” Mr Fifrey told reporters last week.
Mr Fifield’s speech is set for Wednesday afternoon in Canberra.
The speech will be followed by a briefing on the proposed bill at 11:30am local time.
“I think this is a very important speech for the Australian people to hear,” Communications Industry Minister Stephen Conroy said.
“I don’t think the Government has taken a principled position on broadband in the past and it’s a great opportunity for them to move in that direction.”
The Communications Act does provide for the regulation and oversight of the telecommunications industry.
“But while the Communications Minister may have been careful not to directly call for an end to the internet as a service, he did say that he was “deeply concerned” about a proposed draft Communications Act amendment which would give the Government the power of “regulating telecommunications services” as a “telecommunications service”.
This would effectively allow the Communications Department to regulate ISPs and the internet.”
It is an approach which the Government should not be taking,” Mr Conroy told ABC Radio.
The Government is also looking to make a statement in Parliament about what it believes is “the need to protect the Australian economy” and is working on amendments that would allow it.”
One of the things that is absolutely critical to ensuring the Australian business model is sustainable and that people in Australia can live, work and invest in their communities, is that the NBN is affordable, affordable broadband,” Communications spokesman Ben Lewis said.
Mr Conroy says the Government will not be seeking to amend any existing laws or legislation to try and change internet service.
Mr Fifrey has been under pressure from some Coalition MPs who have called for a review of the Communications Code to look at whether there is a need to regulate communications services.
In recent weeks, Mr Conrie has been calling for the Government’s internet service provider regulator to be renamed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, after the former Communications Minister’s daughter, Lisa, was found to have engaged in an “unlawful act” by trying to stop her father from introducing the Telecommunications Act Amendment (Interference with Communications).
Mr Conrie’s deputy, Senator David Leyonhjelm, has also been pushing for the Federal Government to consider regulating broadband internet services as a public utility.”
For me to take a position that I think we should re-regulate the internet is going to be controversial,” Senator Leyonhill said.
Topics:internet-technology,internet-facilities,telecommunications,telecom-information-and-communication,internet,cabinet-office,government-and.govt-office-and%E2%80%99s-minister,internet/content,government—internet-regulation,internet—access,internet–issues,internet+access-policy,australiaFirst posted May 18, 2020 19:51:10Contact Amy Kostin