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Communications Law: Broadcasting and Telecommunications - LAWS3222
 Aerial view of UNSW

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Undergraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 3
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: LAWS1001 and LAWS1011 and Corequisite: LAWS2311; Prerequisite: JURD7101 and JURD7111 and Corequisite: JURD7211
Excluded: JURD7322
CSS Contribution Charge:Band 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


The course focuses on the law regulating the structure of electronic communications in Australia. This is a very topical course with current issues including regulation of content on mobile platforms, switchover for digital television, the role of the National Broadband Network and National v Commercial v Pay TV broadcasters. The course will cover the regulation of broadcasting services, telecommunications, and online content.

Recommended Prior Knowledge

This course is a companion to LAWS3221 Media Law: General Principles.

Course Objectives

The aims of this course are to:
  • Enable students to develop an understanding of the policy considerations which influence broadcasting and telecommunications regulation
  • Provide students with an understanding of laws which govern electronic communications
  • Provide students with an understanding of the variety of regulatory design approaches adopted or available for regulation of the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors
  • Enable students to develop an appreciation of emerging issues in electronic communications regulation
  • Assist students to become familiar with the policy debates and reform discussions relating to the specific legal topics covered in the course
Having completed this course, students should:
  • Have a sound knowledge of the current law in the relevant areas
  • Have some knowledge of the policy background and, where relevant, the history of the current law
  • Be able to form a reasoned view of the consistency of policy objectives and regulatory design
  • Be able to apply the law to practical problems

Main Topics

  • Introduction to the communications regulatory environment
  • The law and regulation
  • Regulating media and communications services: regulating broadcasting and telecommunications infrastructure and services; planning and licensing of services
  • Regulating evolving technology and services: digital case study
  • Competition in the media and telecommunications sector: cross-media and foreign ownership; competition in the telecommunications sector
  • Media content regulation: broadcasting content regulation and enforcement; classification and content
  • Universal service and consumer protection
  • Online regulation


Class participation 20%
Research essay 40%
Take-home examination 40%

Course Texts


  • A. Grant, ed., Australian Telecommunications Regulation: The Communications Law Centre Guide (UNSW Press, 3rd ed., 2004)
  • Course Materials available from the Bookshop

As the course proceeds, additional references which you may find useful will be posted on the Blackboard course site, via the Topic Resources link.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.