AUTUMN – MARCH 2023
Dear ACRS member,
ACRS Director’s report
ACRS continues to grow the number of registered cablers that use ACRS to assess requisite training and grant registration. It is mandatory to have your cabler registration in order to undertake work in data and telecommunications cabling.
While registration numbers are going up, it does remain a worry to ACRS staff, the number of registered cablers who fail to renew their registration when it expires. Anyone continuing to work on data and telecommunications cabling when not registered are operating with high risk. Firstly, there is a risk of enforcement action from ACMA, but also, if something goes wrong, the work performed may not be covered by insurance, potentially leaving an unregistered worker with significant financial liability that could cripple their business.
This is all at a time when technology is advancing in such leaps and bounds, that data and telecommunication cabling work becomes more important to business improvements as well as to home accessibility.
In this regard, home automation is becoming increasingly popular, with new systems offering both convenience and energy efficiency. Connected entertainment systems, have opened the door to smarter homes that provide improvements to comfort, convenience, and control.
With the rising cost of living, homeowners are becoming increasingly aware of the impact that energy bills have on their budget. A major cost in home energy use is heating and cooling systems, as well as appliances, hot water and lighting.
Optimizing your home’s energy efficiency with smart products is a great way to improve the efficiency of your electricity use, while adding comfort to your lifestyle as an added benefit.
At this time, we are also starting to see a return to a more ‘normal” lifestyle, with a combination of work from home and work from offices the norm. People are starting to travel again, but the economy is suffering from high inflation and loan rate rises.
An unwelcome part of this has been the growth in hacks and scams. ACMA has been active in introducing tighter rules on businesses and telcos in particular, in order to better protect people’s information and in actively seeking to block scams.
According to ACMA, since the Reducing Scam Calls and Scam SMS Industry Code came into effect in December 2020, Telcos have blocked more than 955 million scam calls and more than 90 million scam SMS’s. Both businesses and individuals need to be forever vigilant. When in doubt if you think a call or SMS might be a scam, you should treat it like it is and contact the business listed through their normal phone channels.
A PRACTICAL LOOK AT THE ACMA – MANDATED WIRING RULES
After an 18-month phase-in period, AS/CA S009:2020 is now mandated for registered cablers and telecommunication workers. Kevin Fothergill (Titab) looks at what this means for those on the tools.
Almost all Australian industries have technical or industry standards. Telecommunications has one of critical importance to customer equipment and cabling and it is mandated by the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA).
If breaches occur, there is a risk of severe penalties from the regulator, ACMA, and from litigation that could arise if there is an alarm failure, for example, resulting in harm or loss of property.
Probably the most important standard cablers should be aware of is what is commonly known as AS/CA S009:2020 Installation requirements for customer cabling (Wiring Rules) or just ACMA Wiring Rules or S009. This Australian Standard came into full effect on 29 February 2022 when the 18 months phase-in period expired.
Accordingly, all ACMA Cabling Provider Rules (CPR) registered cablers must comply with the changes – CPR registration is mandatory – when working on communications customer cabling and equipment. CPR registration and compliance with standards are mandatory, regardless of whether you are a telecommunications technician, data cabler or electrician.
Probably the most significant revised section is on heat rise with remote power/Power over Ethernet (PoE) and associated personnel and property safety risks, particularly in legacy cabling that may have been installed long before any consideration was given to remote powering.
The key changes to the previous 2013 edition have been notified in Cabler Registrar newsletters, mainly based on analysis by BICSI’s Paul Stathis.
All cablers should have access to the revised standard which is available widely from a registrar website, Comms Alliance and Standards Australia. Some of the changes are summarised below:
· New Electrical Energy Source classifications ES1, ES2 and ES3 and how these impact telecommunications circuits and particularly on remote power, PoE, power over HDbaseT (PoH) and there are new requirements for conductor sizes linked to temperature recommendations for generic cabling and cabling linked distributor circuits.
· Updated separation and subducting of hazardous service requirements; revised requirements for protection against contact with live parts of sockets and the appendices have been rewritten to address power feeding in telecommunications networks and ES3 separation of telecommunications and electrical circuits.
· New guidance and definitions on NBN Interconnections including fibre, HFC and fixed wireless network boundaries; “generic cabling”, “movable cabling”, “types of persons”, “registered engineers” and “RFT circuits”; new requirements for cabling, including flexibility and strain relief; updated optical fibre requirements; new movable and dependent telecommunications outlet (TO) requirements; revised cable flammability and fire stopping requirements.
· Cable flammability and fire-stopping requirements are of major significance given the industry’s move towards PoE/remote powering and the intention is to better align with the National Construction Code of Australia.
· Other significant updates apply to cabling between buildings; pit and access holes and for installing an earthing bar/terminal at distributors terminating outdoor customer cabling.
Registrars have published in their newsletters a more detailed analysis of the wiring rules changes developed by Paul Stathis for industry distribution and also the ACMA formal advice of the expiry of the transition period and formal date of effect of 29 February 2022.
All technical standards have review dates and already there is work being undertaken by committees looking at industry developments. The key advice given by registrars and the ACMA is to access a copy of the new standard which is readily downloadable and that in the long run, compliance is really protection against future risk to the customers, users, cablers and the business model.
A million more households and businesses will get the opportunity to choose faster and more reliable broadband as the rollout of full fibre to the premises continues across the country.
NBN and the Australian Government have released the latest suburbs and towns where additional premises will become eligible to get fibre connected to their house or business by ordering an eligible wholesale speed tier 1 – with up to 58 per cent located in regional areas and the rest in metro areas.
These upgrades are part of the nbn fibre upgrade program – which was boosted by the Australian Government’s recent announcement of an additional $2.4 billion investment.
Full fibre connection to the nbn® network offers customers access to the higher speed tiers, which delivers a better, more reliable internet experience for homes and businesses.
The enhancements to the nbn network to deliver faster speeds and more data reflect and support business and societal changes over the last two years.
According to Venture research commissioned by nbn, online health consultations have increased by 147 per cent, online secondary educational engagement has grown by 114 per cent and a third of people who can work from home now expect to continue working from home at least one day a week.
The company is also supporting growing demands from Australian businesses for faster speeds and more data. Research indicates that 40 per cent of businesses are using video conferencing, cloud storage or cloud-based software.
Other benefits of higher speeds include:
Faster uploads and downloads for homes and businesses;
Faster game upgrades;
Faster streaming – making it easier to work from home, and a more enjoyable movie experience.
The benefits are even greater for larger households with many high bandwidth devices being used at the same time.
More speed is better for when the whole family is streaming online at the same time – working from home, gaming, and watching movies.
nbn is on track to enable up to 10 million premises, or up to 90 per cent of homes and businesses across Australia to access nbn Home Ultrafast, offering wholesale download speeds of 500 Mbps to close to 1 Gbps, by the end of 2025.
To trigger an upgrade, customers at eligible premises2 need to place an order with a retailer which is based on one of nbn‘s three highest residential wholesale speed tiers.
To find out if you’re eligible for an upgrade register at nbn.com.au/FTTPupgrade.
NBN Co switches chipsets for its HFC cable modems
After existing silicon reaches end-of-life
NBN Co will introduce a new network termination device (NTD) – or cable modem – for its hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) network later this year, built around a new chipset sourced from Max Linear.
The company revealed late last month that it had “changed the chipset within our HFC NTDs and will be introducing a new HFC NTD in 2023.”
“The HFC NTD has been altered with respect to the chipset used and device design, but this new alternative will have the same features and functionality as the current NTD,” the network operator said.
The NTD is installed inside a subscriber’s home. It is made by Arris (now CommScope).
An NBN Co spokesperson told iTnews that the existing chip used in the CM8200 NTDs had been end-of-life.
“NBN Co received an end-of-life notice about the chipset used in our existing HFC cable modems,” the spokesperson said.
“Since that time we have been planning to transition to a new chipset provider.
“A redesign of the cable modem was needed to accommodate the different chipset.
“The cable modems [NTDs] will continue to be provided by Commscope, and the chipset provider is Max Linear.”
It is understood that the new NTD will be available sometime in the third quarter of this calendar year.
The new box will also have the same dimensions as the existing one.
Customers with existing CM8200 NTDs can continue to use them and are unaffected by the move.
NBN Co previously encountered sourcing problems for the now end-of-life chipsets, and briefly had to stop taking new orders owing to the component shortages.
Suicide prevention program launched for construction industry
The OzHelp Foundation (OzHelp) has launched the Health in Trades (HiT) training stream. Backed by over 20 years of experience, in-depth industry knowledge, extensive customer and client relationships and the voice of lived experience, the HiT program stream was developed to meet the evolving needs of the building and construction industry, supporting businesses and their people.
On average, approximately nine Australians die by suicide every day, 75% of which are men, with male construction workers consistently found to die by suicide at a higher rate compared to other male workers. OzHelp has a longstanding commitment to delivering health and wellbeing services to Australia’s building and construction industry, and HiT aims to provide further support to the industry. OzHelp’s Partnerships and Engagement Director, Caz Parish, said the shift in the minimum standards expected of employers in managing psychological risks in the workplace has led to employers playing an active role in preventing harm and providing care and support to their workers.
“Employers are looking beyond mental health advocacy and how as an organisation they can practically prevent psychological harm within the workplace through data-informed decision-making and targeted interventions that are tailored to their workers’ needs. We have developed evidence-based, scalable and accessible programs that assist employers in creating resilient, psychological safe workplaces by helping individual employees achieve their best possible mental health and wellbeing,” Parish said.
OzHelp is accredited under the Australian Government National Standards for Mental Health Services and many of the HiT program’s core initiatives received accreditation under the Suicide Prevention Australia Accreditation Program in 2022. Programs such as the Tradie Tune Up (onsite health checks), counselling and wellbeing support services and the Workplace Tune Up program were evaluated against six national suicide prevention standards to ensure that they are targeted, outcomes based and provide a high quality and safe standard of care.
Companies charged over death of electrical apprentice
WorkSafe Victoria has charged two companies with multiple health and safety breaches. The charges follow the fatal electrocution of a 21-year-old apprentice electrician who was performing maintenance work on a car lift at a West Melbourne apartment building alone in March 2021.
Nordic Elevators Pty Ltd and Nordic Elevator Services Pty Ltd are both facing a single charge of workplace manslaughter under section 39G(1) of the OHS Act.
Nordic Elevators Pty Ltd also faces a single charge under sections 21(1) and 21(2)(e) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to provide employees with the necessary supervision to perform their work safely.
Nordic Elevator Services Pty Ltd additionally faces a single charge under sections 21(1) and 21(2)(a) of the OHS Act for failing to provide and maintain safe systems of work; and a single charge under section 23(1) of the OHS Act for failing to ensure people other than employees were not exposed to health and safety risks.
The matters are listed for a filing hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 1 March 2023.
Electrical contractors must not install Type AC RCDs from 30 April 2023
The Electrical Safety Office (ESO) in Queensland has announced that it will be applying the wiring rules published in AS/NZS 3000 amendment 2 from 30 April 2023, with no exemptions for existing projects.
ESO advises that installing an incorrect safety switch type, or installing fixed equipment without checking if the safety switch on the circuit is suitable, may leave the electrical installation unsafe. If this occurs, then ESO considers that you have not met your duties under the Electrical Safety Act and you will then face enforcement action.
AS/NZS 3000 amendment 2 was published 30 April 2021 and ESO allowed a transitionary period of 24 months from the publication date. This will expire on 30 April 2023.
Under the transitionary period either a Type AC RCD or a Type A RCDs could be installed. From 30 April 2023, Type AC RCDs must not be installed.
Electrical contractors should review their current projects to ensure RCDs installed after 30 April 2023 comply with this requirement. If you have any Type AC RCDs, return them to your wholesaler or retailer from this time.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority provides details of most common phone scams
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) says that all of the top reported scams impersonate trusted and well-known businesses, with scammers often displaying a fake number or sender information on your phone to make the contact look legitimate.
ACMA says that many businesses clearly state they will not contact you out of the blue or send messages with links seeking financial information or personal details, so always treat these calls with caution.
According to ACMA the top 5 scam calls are
- Amazon impersonation: Scam calls about an issue with your Amazon account. They claim funds will be taken from your account if you do not act immediately by providing personal information.
- Banking/finance impersonation: Scam calls, emails and SMS claiming suspicious activity, unauthorised debits, or that your account has been suspended. They request personal details to verify your identity.
- NBN impersonation: Scam callers posing as someone from technical support. They claim there is a fault with your internet to get access to your computer and personal information.
- Telstra impersonation: Similar to the NBN scam. Callers pose as Telstra technical support and claim you have issues with your service or internet to access your computer and personal information.
- eBay impersonation: Scammers use a recorded message to claim you have made a purchase that requires a charge to your account. This is to get you to provide to personal information.
ACMA says that to avoid scams
Do not provide your personal information to an unsolicited caller or sender of a message.
Do not open links in any unsolicited messages you receive.
If the brand has an app you can use instead of receiving messages, consider whether this will work for you. Messages you receive via the app are much more likely to be legitimate.
Even if a message slips into a legitimate message stream on your phone, double-check it’s from the brand concerned.
If in doubt, always contact the business via their publicly available contact details (or the details on your regular bill or transaction record) rather than the details provided by the caller or in a message.