Vividwireless owner proposes carrier license fee hike

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Pay for content classification for the internet filter.

Vividwireless' owner Wireless Broadband Australia (WBA) has suggested that ISPs bear the cost of determining whether online content should be refused classification in Australia via a hike in their carrier license fees.

In a rare ISP submission [PDF], WBA - the parent company of ISPs vividwireless and Unwired - proposed that the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), not the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), should classify online content referred for scrutiny by members of the public.

But there remained the question of who would ultimately foot the bill.

"For other OFLC matters, the applicant for a classification pays a classification fee," Wireless Broadband Australia said.

"For the self-regulatory areas the costs are borne by the individual broadcaster.

"Where the ACMA undertakes a regulatory function the costs are ultimately borne by telecommunications carriers through their licence fees."

The firm suggested that while "it would be possible to create an additional fund for the internet service providers (and hence users of the internet) to fund the costs of OFLC work, a simpler process administratively will be for the OFLC to charge the ACMA for its work."

"The ACMA will then recover these costs through carrier licence fees," the company said.

Informing content owners

Wireless Broadband Australia also suggested that, once content has been refused classification, that the decision be communicated to the registered owner of the domain where the content appeared.

"It should be assumed that owners of domains maintain their registrant contact details," WBA said.

"That means that a simple registry query will provide an email address to which a notification that the material has been included on the RC list can be sent.

"Any content on a domain has been ‘authorised' by the domain owner either by specifically allocating codes to allow uploading content or by maintaining a system that permits posting content."

WBA believed ISPs would favour a proposal whereby internet users attempting to reach a blocked page were informed why they could not access the content.

While recognising that "this could result in some users being motivated to get around the block using some form of proxy", it would result in less support calls made to the ISP.

And the process could be streamlined by taking affected internet users to "a standard landing page that includes details of how to seek a review of the classification decision."

Vividwireless launched its WiMAX services in Perth earlier this week. It plans to take the network into metropolitan areas nationwide.


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