Up to $128.4M are available to assist the telecommunications industry meet their data retention obligations.
The Data Retention Industry Grants Programme provides assistance to telecommunications service providers by making a contribution to the cost of meeting their data retention obligations required under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015.
The Programme will operate over three years from 2015-16 to 2017-18.
The Attorney-General’s Department (the Department) is responsible for the Data Retention Industry Grants Programme, which it will manage and deliver in partnership with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
Service providers must comply with the data retention obligations by 13 October 2015. Where they cannot fully comply by this date they must apply to the Communications Access Coordinator (CAC) for:
- an extension of up to 18 months by lodging a Data Retention Implementation Plan (DRIP), detailing how they will achieve compliance by 13 April 2017; and/or
- an exemption from their data retention obligations; and/or
- a variation of their data retention obligations in relation to the services they provide
The design of the Programme aims to address smaller providers’ greater need for financial assistance and to take into account the differentiated impact of data retention across various segments of the telecommunications industry.
The total amount of funding available under the Programme is limited by the Programme appropriation. The Minister will approve minimum and maximum grant amounts and individual grants for Eligible Applicants.
Funding decisions are final and there is no opportunity for review of decision.
To be an Eligible Applicant, an Applicant must at the time of application:
- have a valid ABN; and
- offer at least one Eligible Service; and
- own or operate, in Australia, infrastructure that enables the provision of any of its Eligible Services; and
- (i) have a DRIP, or is included as a subsidiary or related body in a group DRIP that is submitted with the CAC, and agreed, or agreed in principle by the CAC, by the date specified in the Customer Information Guide, and agree that the content of its DRIP be shared with the Administering Entity, for the sole purpose of assessing their grant application; OR
- (ii) where the applicant was fully compliant by 13 October 2015, and therefore does not require a DRIP, submit a Statement of Work in the Application Form which details activities undertaken between 30 October 2014 and 13 October 2015, to become fully compliant; and
- have incurred or will incur direct costs since 30 October 2014 associated with delivering their DRIP or Statement of Work.
The Eligible Applicant should be the same entity or group of entities that submitted the DRIP or Statement of Work.
An Eligible Service is a service, operated by an Eligible Applicant, that is:
- used for carrying communications, or enabling communications to be carried; and
- offered in Australia as at 13 October 2015; and
- operated by a carrier, carriage service provider or internet service provider.
A Service is not an Eligible Service if it:
- is excluded from the data retention obligations (according to section 187B of the Act); or
- is exempted from the data retention obligations (according to section 187K of the Act); or
- is deemed ineligible by the Programme Delegate in consultation with the CAC
The Programme Delegate, upon the advice of the CAC, may deem that a service is not an Eligible Service for the purpose of the Programme if the service is subject to an agreed data retention variation application (according to section 187K of the Act) that has the effect of reducing the data retention obligations to an extent that funding under the Programme can no longer be justified.
Applications close 23 February 2016.