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Telco and Data - Electrician or Registered Cabler?

Need some data or phone cables and outlets installed in your home or business?
Moved into a unit complex and been told your service is active but your line is dead?

Who should you call? If you think Electrician, you may want to think some more.

Performing Telco and Data work must only be performed by a Registered Cabler, in most cases by one holding what's known as Open Registration with appropriate endorsements such as S for structured (data) cabling, F for fibre work, and C for coaxial cable (HFC) style work (this excludes Free to Air installers who do not need to be registered to install coaxial cables for TV antennas), all of which is stated on their Cabling Providers Registration card, which they must be able to produce when requested to do so.

Registration shows you are competent to perform such work, or, at least it should, but if engaging an Electrician, that might not always be the case as you are about to find out.

A common misconception by the average person is that Electricians can automatically do all of this type of work, the truth is very different, even Electricians need to hold Open Cabling Registration if they are going to perform Telco work, and need endorsements for Data work

*Cabling performed by unregistered persons is punishable by on the spot fines of over $2000, and court issued fines that can exceed $90,000, include a criminal record, and the risk of the removal of all that illegally installed cabling and outlets.

*Always demand to see your Telco and Data Cablers registration card before engaging their services, remember, an Electricians licence is not sufficient authorisation

* For the purpose of this article, a Registered Cabling Provider will mean a Registered Cabler who specialises in, and only performs, Telco and Data related work, and, who is not an Electrician.

If you think Electricians are more experienced, consider this, upon competently completing the training course, you can not normally automatically attain registration and become a Registered Cabler, you have to prove yourself in the field, for 360 hours worth of actual hands on cabling work directly supervised by an experienced Registered Cabler, and which can not be all the same type of work, you have to also prove you worked on IDF's, MDF's, in commercial and residential, and some other variation of works, it's much more than running cables and terminating sockets or patch panels.

This means when you call an Open Registered Cabling Provider, you are assured they have actual real world experience in installing, repairing, and maintaining, telecommunications and data networks before they are allowed to go out and work unsupervised and on their own.

However, there exists an exemption loophole that Electricians use, thus avoiding performing the 360 hours of supervised works, they can obtain immediate registration - without having to have performed any previous Telco or Data work at all, the only experience they might have, is what they played with in their training courses.

So do you hire an Electrician, who may have little to no experience outside the classroom, or a non-Electrician Registered Cabling Provider who has had the same training, but also had to prove themselves over time and satisfy Registrars they can competently perform the work, and of course only do Telco and Data cabling day in, day out.

Regardless of who you choose, remember, they must have the appropriate accreditation, there are both Registered Cabling Providers and Electricians who hold Open Registration but no endorsements for structured (data), fibre, or coax and therefore are not permitted to touch such things.

There also exists a lesser held accreditation known as Restricted Registration, I suggest you keep looking if your Cabler or Sparky only holds this because about all they are good for is changing a phone outlet in a private home, they can not do distribution, MDF, IDF, or any commercial work, there is very limited work they can perform, hence why it's called Restricted Registration.

In fairness to sparkys, you should also consider that some Electricians who are Registered Open Cablers do have appropriate endorsements, and do have the experience, some of them do a fair bit of Telco, Data and Coaxial cabling work whilst electrically wiring new homes for builders in dwellings under construction or renovation - but the majority of them that I've come across don't, they spend all their time on electrical work, since they spent four plus years of their life earning the right to become a sparky!


There are currently five ACMA authorised registrars, you can visit their respective websites to find a Registered Cabler, or to verify your technician be they a Registered Cabler or Electrician claiming to be, is in fact (currently) registered and ACMA accredited, and, has the required endorsements (as previously mentioned earlier in this article) allowing them to perform the work you need done.


Australian Cabler Registration Service (ACRS)
BICSI Registered Cablers Australia Pty Ltd (BRCA)
TITAB Australia Cabler Registry Services (TITAB)
Australian Security Industry Association Limited (ASIAL)
Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA)


Lastly, cowboys need to be weeded out, if you have concerns about cabling work performed by someone, take it up with them, if you don't get a satisfactory outcome, or, have seen cabling work you think is dangerous or hazardous, you should report it to the
ACMA.

Likewise if you see a Cabler has exceeded their legal authority by accessing any Telstra, Optus, or NBN assets. Registered Cablers know where the demarcation points are - and none of them are in a carriers pits, poles, cabinets or pillars, and none of them are off your own private property, if you see a Cabler accessing such you should contact the ACMA immediately, because in all likelihood, they are not Registered Cablers and could be doing far more damage than good, many of those joints in Telstra pits for example are not the best of condition and moving wrong cables could be disastrous.


** Please note: There are some ex and current Telstra contractors getting around as Cabling Providers, they do not have the authority to access Telstra assets unless Telstra have issued them a Ticket of Works, and they can show you this on their Panasonic Toughbook which since they are there fault finding on a private job, one can pretty much assume a ToW does not exist, if they can't show you a ToW, notify the ACMA immediately. Part of the reason the Telstra copper network is so messy is neglect over time, but a huge part of it is also due to access by clueless bloody idiots (and that includes about every "457" contractor I've ever come across).


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