Tag Archives: ACMA

Australia’s fake Phone Numbers

For TV, Books, Movies, etc, ACMA have allocated a series of fake phone numbers that can be used, that will not connect,

Check out this great Tom Scott video on the topic of fake phone numbers, for the why.

In Australia they are:

  • Premium Rate Number 1900 654 321
  • Central East (covering NSW and ACT) / (02) 5550 xxxx and (02) 7010 xxxx
  • South East (covering VIC and TAS) / (03) 5550 xxxx and (03) 7010 xxxx
  • North East (covering QLD) / (07) 5550 xxxx and (07) 7010 xxxx
  • Central West (covering SA, WA and NT) / (08) 5550 xxxx and (08) 7010 xxxx
  • Some (but not all) mobile starting with 0491 570 xxx
  • Some (but not all) Freephone / Local rate starting with 1800 975 xxx

More info on ACMA Website

AS/CA S009:2020 Key Changes for Cablers

Recently, ACMA / Communications Alliance updated the rules defining cabling – S009 – “Installation requirements for customer cabling” aka the “Wiring Rules” or “Cabling Bible”.

I don’t talk much about cabling on this blog – but I’m still a registered cabler so need to keep up to date on the changes, and quite a lot has changed since the last update in 2013 – Authority to Alter (A2A) has moved from Telstra to NBNco, PayTV over HFC is far less common, and the NBN rollout is “finished”.

So what are the key changes I need to know about? I had a read and compared to S009 / 2013, and here are they are:

“Supervised” Definition

In order to gain cabling registration you need 360 hours of supervised cabling experience. The specification has been updated to define exactly what supervised means,

4.2.59 instructed person
a person instructed or supervised by a Skilled Person as to energy sources and who can responsibly use equipment safeguards and precautionary safeguards with respect to those energy sources.
Note: Supervised, as used in the definition, means having the direction and oversight of the performance of others.

ES3 (Electrical energy source class 3 (ES3)) Definition & Rules

Reverse power feed, used in NBN FTTC tech, as well as higher voltages used for EWIS and PA systems, has led to the introduction of a new classification – ES3, for cabling that exceeds the ES2 limits,

a metallic circuit utilised for communications or Power Feeding, or both, that—
(a) exceeds the ES2 voltage and touch current limits;
(b) does not exceed 400 V d.c. between conductors; and
(c) does not exceed current as specified in AS/NZS 11801.1 or ISO/IEC 11801-1.

4.2.45 ES3 generic circuit

ES3 falls into two categories, which specific whether it can be carried over generic cabling or not,

(a) over Generic Cabling, in this Standard, are based on—
(i) circuit voltage not exceeding 400 V d.c. between conductors; and
(ii) circuit current not exceeding that specified in AS/NZS 11801.1 or ISO/IEC 11801-1.
Where voltages and currents exceed these limits, then Special Application Cabling, as classified in Item F.2(b), should be used.
(b) over Special Application Cabling in this Standard, are based on a voltage limit and current limit set by Cable manufacturer for the specific Cable and its installation requirements


So if part a is exceeded, Special Application cabling is required;

  • the cabling must meet a higher standard defined for ES3
  • must be identified by it’s sheath colour and markings at regular intervals
  • cabling has to be separated from other services (sub-ducted or separated by a barrier or more than 150mm)
  • must carry a warning label wherever the conductive part of the circuit is exposed (frames / joints) stating it is an ES3 service
  • service may not be terminated on a plug if the plug may have exposed contacts (requires a plug / socket with shutters)

RFT (Remote feeding telecommunication circuit) Definition

an equipment circuit within the ICT Network not connected to Mains power, intended to supply or receive DC power at voltages exceeding the limits of ES2, and on which transient overvoltages or overcurrents may occur.


Examples are PoE, ring current, USB-C / USB3, etc.

RFT circuits are classified as ES3 circuits and subject to the same conditions.

New Conductor Size / Temperature Recommendations

S009 / 2013 did not specific recommended (not mandated) size & temperature rating for generic cabling / jumpering.

It comes down to:

“have a maximum conductor resistance of 0.0938 Ω/m at 20° C “
“the cable should not be installed in a manner that may cause the maximum operating temperature rating of the Cable to be exceeded.”


Plug Terminated Cabling Requirements

Moveable cabling / plug terminated cabling must not be used unless:

the Plug is an integral part of a device that is fastened to a
wall, floor or ceiling or other permanent building element; or
(b) the Plug is not fixed and—
(i) the Plug terminates a section of Movable Cabling;
(ii) the Plug is to mate with a Port on an item of fixed Customer Equipment; and
(iii) in every position to which it may be moved when the Plug is not mated with the Port, every part of the section of Movable Cabling is either out of Arm’s Reach or housed in a Secure Enclosure that is fastened to a wall, floor or ceiling or other permanent building element.


Network Boundary Definition Update

A new Appendix (J) has been added with updated (informative only) definitions of Network Boundaries with examples, to support all the new network boundary definitions introduced with the access technology mix(fibre, HFC and wireless terminations).

FTTC Deployment Information (Informative)

A new Appendix (O) has been added providing information in regards to FTTC and it’s requirement to isolate the first socket from the rest of the cabling – Something that in practice seems to be a rarity.

Labelling & Safety Rules for Fibre Optic Cabling

A new requirement has been added to 11.1 in regards to Fibre Optic cabling must:

  • Have a Warning of potential hazardous laser levels
  • Have a warning regarding Access to emitted radiation
  • Types of laser warning markings
  • Laser warning marking style
  • Laser explanatory label wording
  • Marking durability of labels
  • Fibre outlets in work areas are except
  • Groups of optical fibre connectors may be marked as a group
  • Multiple markings – ie one inside the container one outside
  • Unused optical fibre connectors and adaptors must be covered

Of course, this is all just a summary of the changes I thought were key, but you can get the latest version of S009 from the Comms Alliance website.

Do your records!

Call routing in LNP

Before we get started there’s a few key concepts we’ve got to be familiar with:

  • PLNR
  • Donor Carrier
  • Losing CSP
  • Gaining CSP
  • Donor Transit Routing
  • Third Party Ports

If you’re not familiar with some of these concepts go back to the LNP FAQ and Anatomy of Local Number Portability in Australia posts which explain them.

Before Porting

In the beginning ACA created the heavens and the earth? Wait, no, the Numbering Plan for Australia.

The numbering system lists all the phone numbers in Australia and the carrier they’re assigned to (Donor Carrier when ported).

This means each carrier downloads this data from what is now ACMA (but was at the time ACA) and for each outgoing call look the number up in that data set and route to the correct carrier.

This routing is used when a number has not been ported – The CSP it’s allocated to by ACMA is the CSP to route calls to.

During Porting – Donor & Losing CSP the Same

At the time the number is ported the Losing CSP provides Donor Transit Routing – In practice this is nothing more than a fancy redirection/ forward to the new carrier.

Once the port is completed (and the Emergency Porting Return period has expired) the Losing CSP (who in this case is also the donor CSP) updates their PLNR file, to include the number that’s just been ported out and the new carrier’s code.

During Porting – Donor & Losing CSP Different (3rd Party Porting)

At the time the number is ported the Losing CSP provides Donor Transit Routing – In practice this is nothing more than a fancy redirection/ forward to the new carrier.

Once the port is completed (and the Emergency Porting Return period has expired) the Donor CSP updates their PLNR file, to update the record for the ported number, which previously showed the code of the Losing CSP and now must show the new CSP code.

After Porting – PLNR Update

After the PLNR has been updated by the Donor CPSs, other CPS that participate in porting must update their routing records to ensure they route directly to the Gaining CSP and not to the Donor CSP and rely on Donor Routing.

Donor Routing is only required to be in place for a short time, meaning carriers that don’t update their routes will find the ported destination unreachable once donor transit routing has been stopped.

LNP / Porting FAQ

This is a follow up to my other post on LNP (Anatomy of Local Number Porting in Australia) with some of the frequently asked questions.

For more info on the routing I’ve also written about Call Routing in LNP.

I’ve cited the relevant section of the code below and you can find the code itself here – Communications Alliance – Local Number Portability.

Why am I still billed after a number is ported out?

The Losing CSP does not need to take any action to disconnect Customer’s Telephone Number(s).


This means just porting out a number from a CSP doesn’t mean billing from the Loosing CSP will stop.

Continuing contractual agreements between the customer and Loosing CSP may still be in place and the customer is responsible for requesting the services be cancelled with the Loosing CSP.

Some CSPs work out that if you’re porting out a number you don’t want their services anymore, but they’re not obliged to and most will do what they can get away with.

What is a Bilateral Peering Agreement?

While a customer is legally entitled to move a number they have full control over (As outlined in Telecommunications Numbering Plan 2015), in practice phone numbers can only be moved from one carrier to another if both CSPs have a Bilateral Peering Agreement with each other.

These agreements primarily sort out the commercials of how much they’ll pay each other per port in / out.

It’s worth also noting that the Code only defines the minimum standard and process, two CSPs that have a bilateral peering agreement in place are able to process ports faster and more efficiently than the minimum standard outlined in the code.

Carriage Service Provider vs Carrier?

I’ve been sing the term Carriage Service Provider and Carrier interchangeably.

The difference as far as the code is concerned is one is who a customer pays for the service, while the other is the provider of the service. Generally it’s safe to assume that the CSP is also the Carrier and not a re-seller.

Donor Carriers

Under the Numbering Plan managed by ACMA numbers are allocated to certain CSPs.

These numbers can be ported to other CSPs (this is after all what LNP is all about) but after the number is routed to a different carrier the Donor Carrier remains the carrier listed in the Numbering Plan.

The Donor Carrier is responsible for Donor Transit Routing (A temporary redirect to numbers that have been ported away recently) for any numbers that have recently been ported out, and publishing the number and new carrier details for each number ported out in their PLNR file.

Donor Transit Routing

Under the Numbering Plan managed by ACMA numbers are allocated to certain CSPs.

These numbers can be ported to other CSPs (this is after all what LNP is all about) but after the number is routed to a different carrier the Donor Carrier remains the carrier listed in the Numbering Plan.

In a scenario where a call needs to route to a destination where the current carrier for that destination is unknown, the call is routed to the Donor Carrier, as that’s who the number is originally allocated to by ACMA.

Upon reciept of a call by the donor carrier to a number that has been ported out, the donor’s switch finds the correct Access Service Deliver (ASD) and redirects the call to them.

This is a temporary service – CSPs are only obliged to do this for 5 days, after which it’s assumed the PLNR file of the donor will have been read by all the other CSPs and they’ll be routing the traffic to the correct CSP and not the Donor CSP.

Third Party Ports

Third Party Porting is where the Donor Carrier is neither the Losing Carrier or the Gaining Carrier. Third Party Porting requires bilateral agreements to be in place between each of the parties involved.

As we just covered ACMA allocates numbers to CSPs, when a number is ported to a different CSP the number is still allocated to the original CSP as far as ACMA and The Numbering System are concerned.

The CSP the number was originally allocated to is the Donor CSP – forever.

Let’s look at a two party port first:

  • A number is allocated by ACMA to CSP 1
  • The customer using that number decides to port the to CSP 2 using the standard LNP process
  • CSP 1 performs Donor Transit Routing for the required 5 days and updates it’s PLNR file to denote that the number has been ported to CSP 2

Now let’s consider a three party port, carrying on from the steps above.

  • The Customer decides they want to move from CSP 2 to another CSP – CSP 3
  • At the time of the port the donor CSP (CSP 1) must:
  • CSP 1 must update it’s PLNR records for this number to denote it’s no longer with CSP 2 but is now with CSP 3
  • CSP 1 must provide Donor Transit Routing for the required 5 business days – redirecting calls to CSP 3

So even though the number is moving from CSP 2 to CSP 3 as the number was originally allocated to CSP 1, it is, and will always be the Donor Carrier and as such has to provide Donor Transit Routing and update it’s PLNR each time the number is ported.

Port Reversal / Emergency Return

Ports have an emergency return window inside which the port can be reverted. For Cat C ports this invovles the project manager of one CSP contacting the project manager for the other CSP and requesting the return.

In the event the end customer has requested the Port Reversal / Emergency return they’re typically liable for a very hefty fee to do so.

Give Back & Quarantine of Numbers

After a number is no longer required, it’s given back to the donor carrier who places it in quarantine and typically does not reallocate the number for 6 months.

In some cases such as a wronly cancelled number the customer may be able to get a number that’s been cancelled back while it’s in it’s quarantine state, however this is not required and up to the donor carrier.

Including Customer Account Numbers when Porting

Prior to 2016, a customer moving from one CSP to another CSP were required to include their account number (“Service Account Number”) they had with the Loosing CSP to the Gaining CSP when submitting the Port which was verified against the Loosing Carrier’s records to ensure the correct Customer / Service combo.

This led to a lot of ports being rejected unnecessarily due to mismatched account numbers, as such the the requirement to include a valid matching account number with the loosing CSP has been removed.

Service Account is to remain as a mandatory field, and a standard validation but any mismatches are not to be rejected.

Where’s Cat B & Cat D?

Cat B Dropped in 2013 revision due to lack of use.

Cat D is almost the same as a Cat A port but allows services with an active ULL diversion to be ported. These are quite rare and a very specific use case.

Why is my Cat C Port taking so long?

You may find after submitting a port the date you’ve got back for porting is months away. The Loosing Carrier sets the porting date, and as they’re loosing the customer, they’re often not so keen to action the port quickly when they’re loosing the customer after all.

Lead Times are determined by the Losing Carrier. These may vary by product including variations due to the size of the product or the number of sites to which a particular service is offered.


Tidbit: One of Australia’s largest carriers has a 20,000 number per day limit on porting, meaning they’re only able to process up to 20,000 ports per day in or out. Once that limit is reached no more ports can be accepted for that day, so the ports are delayed until the next day, etc, etc, leading to considerable lead times.

The code requires CSPs to keep Service Metrics on porting time-frames, but there’s no penalty for being slow. (Section 3.6)

Third Party ports also take a lot longer due to the requirement to find a time window that suits all 3 carriers.

Can I arrange my numbers to be Ported after-hours?

CSPs are not required to port numbers outside of the “Standard Hours” defined in the code. (Section 3.8.1 )

However, most CSPs have included support for this inside their bilateral agreements with other carriers. This typically costs more for the customer, but also comes with the added risk of if the port fails there are fewer technical / engineering resources available at the Loosing and Gaining Carrier’s respective ends to sort it out if something goes wrong.

What’s a PNO?

Porting Notification Order – A message containing either a Simple Notification Advise (SNO) for Simple (Cat A) ports, or a Complex Notification Advise (CNA) for Complex (Cat C) ports.

Each PNO contains a unique sequential reference number to differentiate / associate the PNO with a particular porting request.

PLNR – Ported Local Number Registry

PLNR is nothing more than a giant text file, containing a list of numbers originally allocated to that CSP but that have been ported to another CSP, and with each number that’s been ported out the carrier code of the CSP it’s now with.

Information to facilitate Call Routing is provided by the Donor Carrier who is required to notify Carriers, via a Ported Local Number Register, that a Port is pending, completed or did not proceed. This relates to all Ports, including Third Party Ports. All participants must use the Ported Local Number Registers to determine the correct Call Routing.

Typically transferred via Web interface:

… a web site that contains a file with a list of Telephone Numbers that have been Ported away from the Donor, or have just returned.

PLNR data is encoded as a fixed-format text file.

What is Re-targeting?

Re-Targeting is a fancy term of changing the date & time.

It’s typically more efficient to re-target a port than withdraw it and resubmit it.

For only two re-targets are allowed for each unique SNA. (Section 4.2.9)

The Sad story of ENUM in Australia

ENUM was going to change telephone routing. No longer would you need to pay a carrier to take your calls across the PSTN, but rather through the use of DNS your handset would look up a destination and route in a peer to peer fashion.

Number porting would just be a matter of updating NAPTR records, almost all calls would be free as there’s no way/need to charge and media would flow directly from the calling party to the called party.

In 2005 ACMA became the Tier 1 provider from RIPE for the ENUM zone 4.6.e164.arpa

A trial was run and Tier 2 providers were sought to administer the system and to verify ownership of services before adding NAPTR records for individual services and referral records for ranges / delegation.

In 2007 the trial ended with only two CSPs having signed up and a half a dozen test calls made between them.

Now, over a decade later as we prepare for the ISDN switch off, NBN is almost finished rolling out, the Comms Alliance porting specs remain as rigid as ever, it might be time to look again at ENUM in Australia…