Australia again ponders making attorney-general netadmin-in-chief

Ministerial oversight of telecoms networks and the kit they buy is back on the agenda

Australia's attempt to make its attorney-general Netadmin-in-chief is back on the legislative agenda.

An exposure draft for the proposed law, available here, would give the A-G sweeping powers over the operation of telecommunications networks.

The provisions in the year-old exposure draft include the Attorney General's Department getting a veto over “significant” changes to carrier networks without prior notice (which would make software-defined networking [SDN] difficult to implement), and a ministerial veto over which vendors are allowed to build carrier networks.

Earlier this year, The Register reported strong industry opposition to the laws.

As well as making network admin harder, the carriers are worried that excluding vendors from bids will cut competition and make network kit more expensive.

Huawei has long been blocked from supplying kit to Australia's National Broadband Network, even though the NBN's principal supplier, Nokia (the former Alcatel-Lucent) builds kit in a Chinese joint venture (the Sydney Morning Herald suffered the vapours about the discovery earlier this week, even though it was told about the joint venture's Chinese “links” in 2012).

According to Crikey political correspondent Josh Taylor, the Coalition party room yesterday agreed that the laws will be brought back to parliament, so telcos are presumably briefing their lobbists.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018