ACMA states Aussie Broadband's failures are a "massive breach of the rules aimed at protecting the safety of Australians."
The IPND is used by the emergency alert service to warn of potentially devastating situations like fire and flood, to help locate people during emergencies, and to assist police activities.
ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin stated Aussie Broadband’s failure was unacceptable and potentially put people at risk in an emergency. “While we are not aware anyone was harmed due to the breaches, it is alarming that Aussie Broadband did not have effective processes in place to identify that its customer information was not being provided for over six months,” she said.
However, O'Loughlin also noted, “While the breaches should not have occurred, we are pleased to see Aussie Broadband moved quickly to upload the missing data once it was brought to its attention and has taken steps to comply in future.”
ACMA further stated it would keep an ongoing eye on Aussie Broadband and that further breaches may incur penalties of up to $250,000 per event.
ACMA has issued nearly $4m in penalties against 30 telcos for similar non-compliance since 2018.
Part four of schedule two of the Telecommunications Act 1997 sets out the rules for telcos, who are compelled to follow the rules in the Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Determination 2019, the Integrated Public Number Database Code, and the IPND Data Industry Guideline.
ACMA monitors and enforces telco compliance with the rules. Customers can ask their provider to show them their record in the IPND, and telcos must give the customer the record if asked.
ACMA states incorrect information in the database can seriously impact emergency responses and compromise investigations by law enforcement and national security agencies.