New Australian body to focus on telecom policy

Australia's IT Minister Helen Coonan will Thursday launch the Communications Alliance, a newly formed body combining the Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF) and the Service Providers Association (SPAN).

The new body will be a forum for telecommunications policy development and debate on next-generation networks (NGN).

Communications Alliance and ex-ACIF CEO Anne Hurley said the merger will bring 10 staff and 65 members from ACIF and 14 employees and 150 members from SPAN, and will provide a larger forum and membership to develop policy.

"We will be using the successes achieved by ACIF and SPAN as our building blocks, but the Communications Alliance will have a more extensive mandate to tackle the big issues, especially in forward planning for the industry," Hurley said.

"The rapid pace of change in our industry requires new strategies and different structures than those that have served us in the past.

"The Communications Alliance will now be in a [better] position to develop industry decisions for policy [and] because of our broad representative membership base we can define the future industry framework with goals, timeframes and best practice guidelines."