ACMA Competency Requirements for Registered Cablers from 1 July 2014

In July 2012, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) implemented changes to the competency requirements for registered cablers. But what do these changes mean for cablers? 

The ACMA’s Cabling Provider Rules (CPRs) regulate the performance of cabling work in customer premises. Under the CPRs, cabling providers must be registered by ACMA-appointed registrars. To be registered, you must meet certain competencies that the ACMA has set. These competencies form the basis for training programs developed by Industry Skills Councils (ISCs). 

The ACMA has amended the cabling arrangements to ensure all cabling providers have the necessary skills to perform specialised cabling work for the current and emerging customer cabling environment. 

These changes address concerns within the industry that cablers may not have the appropriate skills required to perform specialised cabling work, such as those beyond the scope of an Open Registration. Much of this is being driven by the introduction of the National Broadband Network

(NBN), where customer telecommunications systems are increasingly becoming Internet Protocol (IP) or ethernet-based and therefore must function over higher data rate capable customer cabling. 

How these changes affect you

The changes are to be introduced over a two-year phase-in period and will require cablers to have the necessary competencies in whatever specialist field of cabling they are working in by 1 July 2014.

Up until now, cabling work such as optical-fibre, coaxial and structured customer cabling could be installed by Open Registered Cablers without any specialist cabling competencies although these competencies were readily available and cablers were encouraged to acquire them through further education. However, specialist competencies will no longer be voluntary as of 1 July 2014. 

Put simply, if you work on specialist customer cabling, you will require proven competency in that speciality. If you do not work in a particular speciality, you will not need that competency. 

For example, if you install category 5, 6 or 7 structured data cabling systems, you will need a Structured Cabling competency added to your Open Registration. If you only install telecommunications cabling, such as 50-pair block cabling, your Open Registration will cover this and you will not require additional competencies. 

Most industry stakeholders are recommending that all cablers future-proof their registrations over time by gaining the additional specialist competencies as soon as possible. This will then avoid the situation of a number of cablers all wanting to upgrade their registration at the same time. 

It will be impractical in most cabling work situations to determine in advance the type of cable likely to be encountered on a daily basis in a broadband environment. This is particularly so as the NBN expands and over time replaces the existing Telstra copper carrier network and more customers use broadband products. Although a transition period applies, the reality is that already there has been an upturn in training for ACMA specialist competencies or “endorsements’ and most employers will favour recruiting staff with the specialist competencies.