This is the final part of the RASA response to ACMA.  It deals with callsign allocation and management of repeater/beacon databases



Administrative Services

ACMA have also asked for comment regarding administrative services provided under the current contractual arrangements.  These services include the recommendation of amateur radio callsigns to the ACMA, and the management of callsign and repeater/beacon databases.

RASA submits that the current arrangements, put in place in 2009, have become inefficient and financially unsustainable.

There is significant dissatisfaction with the current services across the sector, principally because of inconsistent service delivery.

Callsign allocation

At present, callsign allocation is broken into two separate organisational delivery units; the incumbent, who administers and recommends callsign applications to the ACMA, and the ACMA, who assign callsigns and collect fees.

This process is inherently inefficient and expensive for both the sector and the ACMA.

RASA recommends that ACMA take the full service back in-house and absorb the work processes into general licencing functions.

This would make the end-to-end process far more efficient for the sector, as well as ensuring that performance and cost are directly controlled by the ACMA.

Additional workload may be handled with in-house contractor services and an appropriate pricing regime would ensure that ACMA guidelines for cost neutrality could be maintained.

The incumbent reports in the order of 1,100 callsign applications per year and revenues at approximately $17,000.  It is understood that the incumbent is making a loss on this service, so a repricing may be necessary.

Repeater/beacon database management and allocation

It is also noted that repeater and beacon applications are subject to extended delays and arbitrary one-person decisions.

It is not uncommon for applicants to experience delays of up to six months before the paperwork is submitted to the ACMA accredited assigners by the incumbent.  The actual allocation process undertaken by ACMA accredited assigners proceeds smoothly.

It is strongly recommended that ACMA seek alternative mechanisms for repeater and beacon coordination, as the current poor performance of the incumbent is stifling innovation and experimentation across the sector.

RASA can provide further information, including specific examples, if required.