Radio Frequency in NZ, February 2016

Opening note from Acting Chairman David Thomson

Dear Members,

Well another year has started and already we are nearly at the end of February 2016.

Recently we were asked by ARCIA (The Australian equivalent of RFUANZ) to attend their meeting and planning days.

We were happy to take up the invitation to see what our cousins over the way were doing.

I was curious to see what the Australian Government was providing for the Mobile Radio Market and how the Australian Regulation Body, Australian Communication and Media Authority, (ACMA) were operating and particularly the policy and planning for the future use of Spectrum use in Australia.

It is fair to say the ARCIA is facing very similar issues in Australia as we have been in New Zealand with the MBIE namely:

  • Spectrum Licence Cost
  • Spectrum availability
  • Compliance codes and procedures Equipment compliance
  • Training in the Industry

RFUANZ has been fortunate to have developed a closer liaison with the New Zealand Government and there is no doubt we have been able to voice our opinion and keep fees from escalating and also to have succeeded in obtaining the 5 year spectrum licence protection for our Industry – something that the Australian Group do not enjoy.

On the other hand ARCIA has been proactive with a number of papers for their members and are actively engaging with the ACMA and Government to lobby their intents.

There is no doubt that there are many things the two organisations can learn from each other and it is obvious that RSM in New Zealand is interfacing with the ACMA in Australia on collective or common policies.

It was a very interesting day and we need to work more closely with this Group in the future.

To that end I have invited ARCIA to attend our Conference this year and I hope to see at least two representatives attending.  If you spot the Australian ARCIA visitors please make yourself known and have a chat.

On the home front RFUANZ needs to be vigilant in keeping up to date with the Ministry on the subjects of The Radio Communications Act and the Fees Review, both of which are still in progress.

Lastly, don’t forget to book for the RFUANZ Annual Conference which is rapidly approaching.  This is an opportunity to catch up on new product and events within the New Zealand Mobile Communications Industry.  We are sure you will find this event of great value.

Yours faithfully,

David Thomson
Acting Chairman

Who are the best performers in our industry?

On the 14th of April we will recognise the individuals who have made a great effort for our industry. Do you know any-one in our industry who has carried out a project to customer satisfaction, provided excellent customer service, shown innovation or has in any other way provided an excellent contribution to our industry.

Or are you yourself one of those people?

The nominations and applications for the awards are now open.

Invoicing and Payment of License Fees

Several RFUANZ committee members have been approached by their customers about the difficulties they experience when paying for their license fees.

The Issues raised are wide and diverse ranging from uncertainty on what the renewal notice is about, when it needs to be paid, how it can be paid and either no or unclear invoices.

In order to get a good understanding of how widespread the concerns with the license fee payment system are and cover all issues encountered we have created a small survey.

If you would like to provide feedback on your experience with relicensing and payment for the licenses, we ask you to spend 5 minutes of your time to complete this survey following the link below:

RFUANZ License Fee payment survey

The new Health & Safety Regulations, the HSWA

The Regulations to help New Zealand companies understand what needs to be done to their duties under the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) are now available. These regulations will come into force on 4 April 2016, along with the HSWA.

Some new regulations are applicable to all businesses, others are focussed on a particular activity, risk, hazard, or industry. The regulations cover:

General Risk and Workplace Management:  These regulations apply to all workplaces in New Zealand. They prescribe what must be done in specific circumstances to meet the duties under the new law. 

Worker Engagement, Participation and Representation: These will help businesses meet their duties of worker participation under HSWA. All workplaces need to have effective worker engagement, participation and representations practices under HSWA. 

Major Hazard Facilities: These regulations place safety management obligations on operators of particular facilities. Facilities subject to these regulations are those with the potential to cause a catastrophic event, and focus on matters for process safety. This will not be applicable for the Radio Industry but these are often radio users.

Rate of Levy Funding: Regulations prescribing the levy required to be paid by employers and self-employed people under section 201 or the HSWA. 

Further regulations are being defined.

At the Comms Connect Wellington conference, Worksafe NZ will provide a 30 minute presentation about the new regulations with a focus on the importance for the Radio Industry.

Provided there is sufficient interest from our members, RFUANZ will also organise workshops with Health and Safety Experts to discuss the specifics for our industry. The workshop will be very interactive and allow you to ask questions and discuss scenarios relevant for you.

If you are interested in attending such a workshop, please send an e-mail to admin@rfuanz.org.nz with your details.

Cyber Security, featured at Comms Connect Wellington 2016 and centre stage at IWCE

The opening keynote of IWCE will highlight Cybersecurity and the need to protect Communication systems for First Responders, Power Companies (Smart Grid) and other critical infrastructure providers.

While the attacks in other parts of the world are far more widespread than in New Zealand, we are not immune for it. Many business are aware of the risk but it is not always clearly understood what the challenges are with IP connected radio communication systems.

At Comms Connect Wellington this topic will be addressed with a presentation from Chris Blunt and Ahmed ElAshmawy from Axenic Ltd.

Registrations for the conference can be made at www.comms-connect.co.nz.

Have you registered for the RFUANZ Gala Dinner?

Don’t miss this years RFUANZ Gala Dinner and Awards Night. Thursday 14 April 2016 at Te Wharewaka Function Centre in Wellington.

You can now register for the dinner.

US Secret Service needs to upgrade its two-way radio system

The US Secret service needs to upgrade its radio communications system before it creates difficulties in protecting the White House, the Vice President’s residence and foreign diplomatic embassies.

That was the conclusion of a report issued by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General who stated In case of radio communications, a single missed transmission or delay could result in a national incident. Secret Service must ensure that its communications programs work effectively. The review was carried out after an intruder made it over the White House fence and actually entered the building in September 2014. Communications failures were cited as one of the reasons for that security failure.