Singtel-owned Optus paid an AUD1.5 million ($979,000) fine for breaching consumer public safety regulations, after the communications regulator found the operator often failed to provide customer information to a national database.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) stated Optus had not uploaded details of nearly 200,000 customers to the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) between January 2021 and September 2023.

ACMA explained the IPND is used to help locate people when they call the country’s main emergency service number.

The regulator initiated a probe after a compliance audit indicated Optus had failed to upload data through its outsourced supplier Prvidr.

In addition to the penalty, ACMA accepted a court-enforceable undertaking requiring an independent review of Optus’ IPND compliance using third-party data providers.

The operator needs to make any improvements recommended by the review and was formally directed to comply with the IPND code.

ACMA can take legal action in federal court if Optus fails to comply, with penalties of up to AUD10 million per breach.

Over the past 18 months, the watchdog has taken action against five operators for IPND breaches and issued financial penalties of more than AUD2 million.