The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced on Monday that 9 million phone numbers are now indexed on the federal government's Do Not Call Register. This includes 3.85 million mobile phone numbers and 5 million fixed-line phone services.
Around 1 million phone numbers were added over the last year, according to ACMA chairman Chris Chapman.
"The size of the register is an overwhelming endorsement of its effectiveness in significantly reducing telemarketing calls," he said.
The Do Not Call Register is a list of phone numbers that telemarketers, excluding charities and some public interest organisations, cannot ring to sell products and services to. It was first introduced by legislation from the federal government in 2007 in order to protect consumers. It is managed by the ACMA and its IT services are administered by Service Stream.
When a company is in breach of the list, the ACMA sends a warning letter, with 5,000 having been sent out since the register's inception in 2007. If a business does not abide by the warning, the ACMA begins an investigation, and is able to hand out infringement notices, formal and enforceable warnings, and even penalties from the Federal Court.
In January 2012, the ACMA found Vodafone Hutchison Australia to have breached the Do Not Call Register rules. The ACMA investigated the matter in October 2009, and discovered that telemarketers operating under both Vodafone and 3 had placed calls to numbers on the Do Not Call Register. As a result of the finding, Vodafone committed to audit its telemarketing activities, report back to the ACMA, and keep comprehensive records of all of its telemarketing calls.
"Over the intervening two or more years since the complaints were received, Vodafone has completed a comprehensive review of dealers' telemarketing practices and made training available to ensure all dealers understand the importance of the Do Not Call Register Act 2006," Vodafone told ZDNet at the time.
In April this year, the ACMA announced that the span of time for which numbers are kept on the register would be increased to eight years.
"All numbers currently registered will automatically be extended to eight years," said ACMA chairman Chris Chapman in April. "Any new registrations will also be valid for the new period, making life easier for Australians wishing to opt out of telemarketing calls and marketing faxes, long term."