Digital dividend auction FAQs | ACMA

Digital dividend auction FAQs

New questions now available – published on 25 March 2013 (look for NEW! below).

We welcome questions from stakeholders about the digital dividend auction and there are various ways you can contact us. All correspondence is subject to the strict probity arrangements we have in place for the auction, which are designed to ensure it is conducted in a fair and impartial manner.

We’ll generally make responses to any auction-related queries available to all stakeholders by publishing them on our website.

Stakeholders who believe that our response should not be published (for confidentiality reasons) should draw this to our attention when submitting their query. We’ll then consider such claims on a case-by-case basis.

This list of questions is updated from time to time. You can also read responses to our frequently asked questions.

Associations and affiliations

Can parties who have an association with another applicant participate in the auction?

Parties (applicants or bidders) who are associates of each other or have an associate in common are considered to be ‘affiliated’ for the purposes of the auction rules, and cannot participate in the auction as separate bidding entities. Parties who are affiliated may withdraw from the auction, but must do so before the eligibility deadline. Information about the affiliation rules can be found in section 3.2 of the auction guide.

Auction forms

In the General Information in the auction forms pack, it states that ‘auction participants must print a hard copy of each relevant form, complete the form by hand and give the completed form to the ACMA by the applicable deadline in accordance with the lodgement procedures set out below. As discussed in Form 1—Application form, any attachments lodged with that form must be completed electronically.’ Please can the ACMA clarify whether prospective bidders should complete the auction forms by handwriting or electronically?

Other than the signatures, the ACMA considers that the auction forms (forms 1-7 and form 8) can be completed by hand or electronically.

Parts 2 and 3 of Form 1—The Application Form requests that fax numbers be provided for the contact persons and authorised persons. Our organisation does not generally use fax numbers. Is the provision of fax numbers essential?

Prospective bidders will need to provide at least one fax number for their application. The emergency bidding procedures—that is, the procedures bidders will be able to use in the event they can’t lodge a bid using the auction system—will involve the lodgement of a bid by fax. The fax number would be used to lodge the bid, and for the ACMA to confirm the lodgement of the bid. So each bidder will need an operational fax line. The ACMA recommends that it be a dedicated line that is only used by the bidder’s auction team.If you do not have such a line available yet, you can return the application form without a fax number. Simply note that the number will be provided at a later date. You can then provide the fax number when it is set up, and the ACMA will update your entry on the register of bidders accordingly.

Part 4 of Form 1—Application form for the digital dividend auction asks prospective bidders to provide the ACN/ARBN of each related body corporate. However, our organisation has related bodies corporate that are offshore entities. As these entities have been incorporated in other jurisdictions, they do not have an ACN/ARBN. Is it acceptable to mark the response to the ACN/ARBN field as ‘not applicable’?

For offshore entities that do not have an ACN/ARBN, please list their equivalent offshore company registration number. If there are any entities that do not have a company registration number or equivalent, simply list ‘not applicable’ in the field. It would also be helpful if you could include a comment or footnote advising that the company listed is an offshore entity that does not have an ACN/ARBN or equivalent.

Our organisation has certain employees who have been involved in our preparations for the auction. Some of these employees are currently on leave, including one who is overseas. They are scheduled to return to work after the application deadline of 24 January 2013. As such, should our organisation provide deeds of confidentiality for these employees (who are currently overseas) before the application deadline, or can we provide them upon their return?

Whether the employees in question need to complete a deed of confidentiality (and if so, when they need to do so) will depend on whether they have knowledge of your organisation’s confidential information.

If employees have knowledge of your organisation’s confidential information prior to the application deadline, they will need to provide a completed deed of confidentiality form prior to the application deadline (refer s3.6(1) and (2) of the Radiocommunications (Spectrum Licence Allocation – Combinatorial Clock Auction) Determination 2012 (allocation determination).

As the ACMA is not privy to the information your employees have knowledge of (or will have knowledge of prior to the application deadline), we are not able to advise on whether subsection 3.6(2) applies to them. Your organisation may wish to have its own advisers consider this point and the applicability of subsection 3.6(2) to those employees.

If your organisation takes the view that these employees do (or will) have knowledge of confidential information prior to the application deadline, there is some degree of flexibility in the allocation determination around lodgement requirements. Specifically:

  • A document lodged under the allocation determination may be lodged by email (section 1.6(1)(b)), provided that the conditions in subsection 1.6(2) are met. This means that a deed of confidentiality can be lodged as an attachment to an email, in PDF format or another format approved by the auction manager.
  • In the case of a confidentiality deed signed by the applicant and lodged by email, the original of the deed must be received by the ACMA no later than three working days after the application deadline (or, if the ACMA agrees to a later time, the agreed time) for the application to be valid.  However, for confidentiality deeds completed by related persons (including employees) of an applicant, there is no requirement in the allocation determination for the original document to be lodged with the ACMA. This means that emailed lodgement (or faxed lodgement) in accordance with the procedures set out in section 1.6 of the allocation determination would be sufficient.

On page 7 of Form 1—Application form it states, with regard to any additional authorised persons, an applicant may wish to nominate, that:

Where an applicant wishes to nominate more than three authorised persons, the name, contact details and signature (as required below) [emphasis added] of each additional person must be provided as an attachment to this form, in accordance with the instructions set out under ‘Attaching additional information to the application form,’ above.

However, Form 1 does not require a signature for authorised persons 1, 2 and 3, who may be nominated within the body of the form. That being the case, does the ACMA require the signature of any additional authorised persons nominated by the applicant? In addition, does the ACMA require the signature of authorised persons 1, 2 and 3 nominated within the body of the form?

The second paragraph on page 7 of Form 1 contains an error. The relevant part of the paragraph should read:

Where an applicant wishes to nominate more than three authorised persons, the name, contact detailsand secret question responses [emphasis added] (as required below) of each additional person must be provided as an attachment to this form, in accordance with the instructions set out under ‘Attaching additional information to the application form,’ above.

Consequently, the ACMA does not require the signature of any additional authorised persons nominated by an applicant. For each additional authorised person an applicant wishes to nominate, the applicant must provide (in an attachment to Form 1) the same set of information that is sought in Part 3 of the application form for authorised persons 1, 2 and 3. That is, they must provide the name, contact details and secret question responses for each additional authorised person.

Likewise, the ACMA does not require the signature of authorised persons 1, 2 and 3 nominated in the body of the form. For these authorised persons, applicants only need to complete each of the fields set out in Part 3 of the form for authorised persons 1, 2 and 3 (that is, the name, contact details and secret question response fields). 

Auction rules

Will the ACMA be releasing additional guidance about key matters to be set under the allocation determination? 

The ACMA intends to make additional guidance available to applicants and bidders about the following matters in advance of the auction:

  • the range of possible supplementary bid limits being considered
  • possible clock round schedules and bid size increments
  • the length of the interval between the final clock round and the start of the supplementary round

The ACMA is aware of the importance of these matters to applicants’ auction preparations. We are currently considering possible approaches to these issues—including the types of guidance that could be made available in advance of the auction. Additional guidance on each of these issues will be made available to applicants as soon as possible.

Can you explain how the results of each clock round, and the prices that will apply in the next clock round, will be released to bidders?

At the end of each clock round, the Auction Manager will post the results of the round on the auction system, providing bidders with information about the aggregate demand for each product in that, and all previous, clock rounds. This information will also be available for download in a .csv or .xls format file. Information about the next clock round, including the prices that will apply in that round, will then be announced.

Once the prices for the next clock round are announced, this information will be on an auction system screen alongside the aggregate demand information. At this point bidders can download a file containing both the aggregate demand information and the next round prices information (in .csv and .xls formats).

Applicants will have an opportunity to familiarise themselves with these and other aspects of the auction system during the mock auctions currently scheduled for 6-15 March and 16 April 2013.

Could you clarify the effects of sections 5.9 and 5.11 of the Radiocommunications (Spectrum Licence Allocation – Combinatorial Clock Auction) Determination 2012 (the allocation determination)? 

Section 5.9 clearly indicates that if a bidder is affiliated with another bidder during the auction period then they will be in breach of the allocation determination and action may be taken under s.7.6 of the allocation determination accordingly (such action including forfeiture of eligibility payments and being prevented from being allocated any spectrum won at auction). That is, section 5.9 makes it against the rules to be affiliated during the auction.

Section 5.11 serves to ensure that the identification of a possible affiliation between bidders during the auction period does not inappropriately disrupt the course of the auction. It achieves this by providing the ACMA with flexibility in the timing by which it responds to a possible breach of section 5.9. That is, if the ACMA becomes aware during the auction period that two or more bidders may be affiliated, section 5.11 enables the ACMA to take the following steps either during or after the auction period:

  • consider whether it has reason to believe the bidders were actually affiliated—and, if so, write to the bidders in accordance with section 5.12
  • subsequently make a decision under section 7.6 about whether to retain a bidder’s eligibility payment or enforce a bidder’s deed of financial security.

Importantly, by providing that the auction is to continue and that the bidders may continue to participate, section 5.11 avoids the need for the ACMA to respond to a possible breach of section 5.9 at the time the possible breach is identified. This in turn avoids the potential for a possible breach of section 5.9 to disrupt the timely and efficient progress of the auction.

Why was the new activity rule in clause 17(d)(iii) in Schedule 1 of the allocation determination introduced? Can you provide an example of how the rule would work in practice?

The following example illustrates a theoretically possible sequence of bidding that would, in the absence of clause 17(d)(iii), leave a bidder with no valid bid.

Round 1:

  • Bidder 1 bids for a package that includes one lot of 700 MHz spectrum (and perhaps some 2.5 GHz spectrum).
  • The other bidders, in aggregate, bid for seven lots of 700 MHz spectrum (and also enough 2.5 GHz spectrum to create excess demand for some products).
  • Demand for 700 MHz lots is less than supply.

Consequently, the price of 700 MHz spectrum does not increase in Round 2.

Round 2:

  • Bidder 1 is permitted by revealed preference to increase its bid on 700 MHz spectrum to three lots and to bid the same package of 2.5 GHz spectrum as in Round 1, but doing so exceeds its eligibility points.
  • The other bidders, in aggregate, continue to bid for seven lots of 700 MHz spectrum.
  • Combined demand of 10 lots for 700 MHz spectrum exceeds supply in Round 2.

Consequently, the price of 700 MHz spectrum increases in Round 3.

Round 3:

  • With the price increase for 700 MHz spectrum, Bidder 1′s existing package (three lots of 700 MHz spectrum + its unchanged Round 1 bid for 2.5 GHz spectrum) may violate revealed preference in Round 3 (relative to Round 1).
  • Bidder 1’s existing package less one lot of 700 MHz spectrum (two lots of 700 MHz spectrum + its unchanged Round 1 bid for 2.5 GHz spectrum) may also violate revealed preference in Round 3 (relative to Round 1).
  • In such scenarios, the revealed preference rule requires Bidder 1 to reduce back to one lot of 700 MHz spectrum (clauses 17 and 18 in Schedule 1 of the Allocation Determination).
  • But the Bid Reduction Restriction Rule requires Bidder 1 to reduce to no lower than two lots of 700 MHz spectrum (clauses 19 and 20 in Schedule 1 of the Allocation Determination).

Consequently, Bidder 1 is left with no valid bid.

The addition of clause 17(d)(iii) provides a technical fix to ensure that this does not arise.

Would the ACMA consider amending the allocation determination to avoid the possibility of a bidder circumventing the purpose of the activity rules in clauses 19 and 20 in Schedule 1 of the determination by dropping out of the auction and not making any further bids (in accordance with clause 16)? 

The ACMA notes the consequences under the rules if a bidder fails to submit a valid bid in a clock round t. First, the bidder will be deemed to have placed a bid of zero dollars for zero lots of all products and therefore the bidder will not be entitled to bid in subsequent clock rounds (clauses 12, 13 and 16). Second, the bidder will be unable to increase the amount of its final clock bid, as a supplementary bid for greater than zero dollars can never be placed for zero lots of all products.

Consequently, the bidder’s supplementary bids will be severely constrained: the amount of the supplementary bid for any package will not be permitted to exceed the price of such a package in clock round t (clauses 36(h) and 37); and it may be required to be lower (see the note following clause 36(h)). In summary, the bidder cannot place any further clock round bids and its supplementary bids are severely constrained.

The ACMA further notes that such an amendment would be inconsistent with an important general feature of combinatorial clock auctions. All bids placed at any time in the auction are treated as binding commitments and will be included in the winner and price determinations. The suggested amendment is in breach of this principle.

Considered as a whole, the ACMA believes that the effect of the current rules already provides a robust auction framework.

Would the ACMA consider amending clause 36(g) in Schedule 1 of the allocation determination to make clear that the bid constraint is tied to the clock round in which the bidder last bid for the relevant package? 

The ACMA does not intend to amend this clause.

All bids placed at any time in the auction are treated as binding commitments and will be included in the winner and price determinations. Consequently, if the supplementary bid were for a package that the bidder bid for in a clock round, and if the dollar amount of the supplementary bid were not greater than the price of the package in the clock round, the supplementary bid would be redundant and superfluous.

Clause 36(g) prevents the bidder from submitting a supplementary bid that would necessarily be redundant and superfluous. The stated constraint is in relation to all clock rounds in which the bidder bid for the relevant package, including the last clock round in which the bidder bid for the relevant package. Naturally, the price for a package in the last clock round in which the bidder bid for that package would be the highest price that the bidder has bid for that package in all clock rounds.

Can you explain how the activity rules would be applied in the supplementary round in the event that a bidder ends the clock rounds on a package: with increased eligibility points compared to the previous round (but satisfies revealed preference); or that fails to satisfy either the eligibility activity rule or the revealed preference rule, in accordance with clause 17(d)(iii)? 

The ACMA notes for clarification that while a bidder can sometimes bid in the clock rounds for a package that is worth more in eligibility points than the bidder’s current eligibility points (due to the operation of the revealed preference rule at clause 17(d)(ii) and clause 18), the bidder’s eligibility points do not rise in such a situation.

We also note that clause 36(h) only applies to supplementary round bids for packages other than the package that the bidder bid for in the final clock round. As a result, if the bidder placed a bid in the final clock round for anything other than zero lots of all products, the price bid in the supplementary round for the final clock package is uncapped by clause 36(h). The supplementary round activity rules, and in particular clauses 36(a)-(g) apply to final clock round packages described in the question as they would to any other final clock round package.

Would the ACMA consider amending the winner determination rule in clause 43 in Schedule 1 of the allocation determination to maximise, rather than minimise, the number of lots won in the final clock round packages of bidders? Should sub-clauses 43(a) and (b) refer to all bidders, rather than ‘a bidder’ or ‘the bidder’?

The ACMA notes that clause 43 is a tie-breaking clause, and operates to minimise the difference between the lots bid for in the final clock round by each winning bidder and the lots in the winning set of packages for each winning bidder. Put informally, the tie-break rule prefers a set of winning packages that is ‘closest’ to the packages bid for in the final clock round. The ACMA believes that maximising the number of lots would be inappropriate here.

The use of ‘a bidder’ in clause 43(a), followed by ‘the bidder’ in clause 43(b) indicates that the calculation is being done for each and every bidder. The total that is being minimised is a sum of the calculation across all bidders.

Could you clarify the difference between the weights used in the determination of allocation prices (clause 50 in Schedule 1 of the allocation determination) and the determination of assignment prices (clause 80)?

The weights wj utilised in clause 50 are the starting prices of “the winning bidders’ winning packages.” By contrast, the weights wj utilised in clause 80 are the starting prices of “the bidders’ assigned lots”. As such, the weighting of prices in clause 80 is being made in relation to the lots included in the relevant assignment round, not in relation to the bidder’s entire winning package.

Would the ACMA consider amending the allocation determination to give the contiguity of 2.5 GHz band frequency assignments across geographic boundaries greater importance than the contiguity of unallocated lots?

The ACMA believes that the contiguity of unsold lots is important for the efficiency of any subsequent allocation. Bidders who value contiguity in their holdings across regional boundaries can express those preferences through bidding appropriately in the assignment rounds. The ACMA does not intend to amend the allocation determination in relation to this issue.

Auction software

To assist with resource planning, can the ACMA advise when, where and in what format the auction software will be available for bidders to review and test?

We have published the bidder engagement plan for the digital dividend auction.  Click here for more information.

What computer software is required for bidders to interface with the online auction system?

The auction system will be accessible from a standard, internet-connected personal computer (PC) with an internet browser with a minimum of 128-bit SSL security. Bidders are encouraged to install the latest updates for their operating system and browser to maximise protection against potential security vulnerabilities.

The auction system user manual will contain details of the recommended configuration for user equipment. The auction system may run on PC configurations other than the one recommended in the user manual. However, it is the bidder’s responsibility to check they can use the system on another configuration.

Bidders are discouraged from using web browsers containing third-party modifications such as search bars, tool bars or other browser extensions. Third-party browser extensions may cause problems for users of interactive websites—such as the auction system—and in principle may render bidders’ computers more vulnerable to hacker attacks. If in doubt, bidders should seek their own expert advice to disable third-party browser extensions or, if necessary, obtain clean installations of a recommended web browser.

When can bidders access the winner and price determination software tools? Are there any special software/hardware requirements for running these tools?

The ACMA intends to give relevant parties access to a ‘winner and price determination tool’ before the auction. This web tool will interface to a copy of the auction winner and price determination software.

Following receipt and review of the tool by the ACMA, we will release information on how to access it to those parties who are participating in the auction. The software required to access the auction system will also enable access to, and use of, the winner and price determination software tool.

The information and materials that will be provided to parties participating in the auction will include:

  • screencast demonstration of the software
  • bidder manual
  • winner determination and pricing tool.

Click here for more information.

What is the format of the information that is exchanged between the online auction system and bidders during the clock, supplementary and assignment rounds? What file types are involved and how is the data structured?

The system will allow bidders to download files with their clock round bids and supplementary round bids. The file types that are expected to be used will either be comma-separated values (csv) or Excel spreadsheets; both will be Excel spreadsheet-compatible.

At this stage, we cannot provide an assurance that the structure of these files will not change. Comprehensive information about file formats will be made available to bidders once the details are settled.

Deed of confidentiality

Is each member of a person’s bidding team required to sign and return an individual deed of confidentiality? Can an ‘authorised person’ sign and return a single deed of confidentiality on behalf of all of the team members?

Note: a similar question was asked on this topic and a response published in 2012. The following provides an update to this response.

Under section 4.7 of the allocation determination (the determination), a person wishing to apply to participate as a bidder must provide (amongst other things) a completed deed of confidentiality form.

Under section 3.6 of the determination, a related person of an applicant or bidder who has knowledge of their confidential information (as defined in the determination) must give the ACMA a completed deed of confidentiality form if the person is either:

  • an employee of the applicant or bidder; or
  • an employee of a related body corporate of the applicant or bidder that provides services to the applicant or bidder.

In the case of section 3.6, an authorised person of the applicant or bidder cannot provide a single confidentiality deed on behalf of all related persons of an applicant or bidder. Each related person covered by section 3.6 must provide a separate deed of confidentiality. A confidentiality form received from a related person of an applicant or bidder must be executed by that individual.

Page 2 of the deed of confidentiality form (included in the forms booklet in the Applicant Information Package) provides further information about when a deed of confidentiality must be provided, and how this form is to be completed.

Deed of financial security

NEW! Section 7.6(1) of the Radiocommunications (Spectrum Licence Allocation–Combinatorial Clock Auction) Determination 2012 (allocation determination) permits the ACMA to retain an eligibility payment or enforce a deed of financial security in certain circumstances. When deciding whether to exercise its powers under section 7.6(1) of the allocation determination with respect to a particular applicant or bidder, will the ACMA give that applicant or bidder an opportunity to provide its views on whether it believes the ACMA is entitled to exercise its powers under section 7.6(1)?

The Commonwealth administrative law regime applies to all Commonwealth agencies (including the ACMA) and is intended to provide a mechanism for ensuring that the Government acts within its lawful powers. A fundamental principle of administrative law is the notion of “procedural fairness”.

Procedural fairness generally requires that a person whose interests are likely to be affected by an exercise of power must be given an opportunity to deal with relevant matters adverse to his/her interests which is credible, relevant and significant to the decision to be made and which is in the possession of the decision-maker. A critical part of procedural fairness is ‘the hearing rule’. Fairness demands that a person be told the case to be answered and given the chance to reply before a government agency makes a decision that negatively affects a right, an existing interest or a legitimate expectation which they hold.

Any decision by the ACMA to retain an eligibility payment or enforce a deed of financial security under section 7.6 of the allocation determination will be made in accordance with the principles of administrative law. The ACMA will afford procedural fairness to a party likely to be affected by the decision. This will include providing parties likely to be adversely affected by the decision with an opportunity to make submissions on the matter, in accordance with the requirements of procedural fairness.

If an applicant chooses to provide a deed of financial security to the ACMA, when does this cease to have effect? Do the auction rules mean that there could, in effect, be a double ‘eligibility’ payment? That is, if a winning bidder used a deed of financial security for the eligibility payment and the deed was not discharged upon payment of the balance of the winning price, could the ACMA hold a ‘double’ eligibility payment for a period of up to six months while it investigated the possibility of a breach of auction rules?

Note: A similar question was asked on this topic and a response published in 2012. The following provides an update to this response.

The deed of financial security was released on 3 January 2013 as part of the auction forms booklet. The deed sets out that the obligations under the deed of financial security continue to be in full force and effect until either:

  • the Chief Executive of the ACMA writes to the Promisor (the financial institution that executed the deed) to cancel the deed: or
  • the Promisor makes payment to the ACMA for the whole amount covered by the deed (which would be the case where the ACMA enforces the deed).

The Allocation Determination made under section 60 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 provides that the ACMA may enforce a deed of financial security made by an applicant or bidder (whether successful or unsuccessful at auction) for a breach of the auction procedures. Under subsection 7.6(2) of the Allocation Determination, the ACMA has up to six months from the end of the auction period, or from the date in which the breach occurred, to notify the applicant/bidder of the breach (following which the ACMA may enforce the deed).

This means that the ACMA may decide not to cancel a deed of financial security where the ACMA has reason to suspect a bidder has breached the Allocation Determination or the auction rules.

In the absence of any reason to suspect a breach, it is expected that the deed of financial security would be cancelled shortly after a successful bidder had paid the balance of the winning price for spectrum won at auction. In the case of an unsuccessful bidder, the Chief Executive of the ACMA would ordinarily provide written notice to cancel the deed following the end of the auction.

If the ACMA became aware of a potential breach before issuing the notice requiring payment under section 6.8 of the Allocation Determination, it is expected that the ACMA would not issue the notice until it had finalised its investigation (meaning that the winning price would not have been paid before the investigation outcome was clear).

It is important to note that the deed of financial security provides the ACMA with financial recourse in the event of a breach by an applicant or bidder. In the event of any such breach, it is necessary and appropriate for the ACMA to keep the deed of financial security on foot.

As published on 3 January 2013, the ACMA has set the dollar value of each eligibility point at $20,738, which equates to around 10% of the initial (reserve) price for a 2×5 MHz national lot in the 700 MHz band. This means that if the ACMA decided not to cancel the deed of financial security even after the successful bidder had made full payment of the winning price, it would not be in possession of twice the winning price, but an amount materially less than twice the winning price.

Applicants should be aware that they can always provide an eligibility payment as an alternative to providing a deed of financial security.

Is a registered bidder able to change the supplier of their ‘deed of financial security’ at any time between the confirmation of registrations until the deed is discharged?

The intention of the auction rules is that a deed of financial security will continue in full force and effect until either the deed is cancelled on written notice from the ACMA or the ‘supplier’ that executes the deed makes payment to the ACMA for the whole amount covered by the deed (on enforcement of the deed of financial security by the ACMA for a breach of the auction rules).

In order for a bidder to change the ‘supplier’ of a deed, this would necessarily involve the cancellation of the first deed, which is something that can only be done by the ACMA. Note that a request to the ACMA to change suppliers would only be considered before the eligibility deadline of 28 March 2013.

Is a registered bidder able to switch the composition of the eligibility payment from a ‘deed of financial security’ to ‘cash’ at any time from registration to the end of the auction process, including prior to an invoice for payment being issued?

It is generally expected that a registered bidder would not change the composition of their security from a deed of financial security to an amount paid to the ACMA during the auction process, and the auction rules do not specifically allow for such a situation to occur. In the event a bidder wished to alter the composition of their security, a request to the ACMA would only be considered before the eligibility deadline of 28 March 2013.

If an applicant chooses to use a ‘deed of financial security’ as part or all of their eligibility payment, will the deed be required to include a maturity date?

The deed of financial security required to be given by a promisor in respect of an applicant does not include a maturity date.

Federal elections

Once the Applicant information package (AIP) is published, does the ACMA have the power to continue to administer the auction process as per the auction timetable irrespective of whether a federal election is called or held between now and April 2013?

A federal election has been called for September 2013.  It is unlikely that this would affect the auction process or timetable if the government enters caretaker mode. Further information on caretaker mode is available here.

Ministerial directions

What happens if the minister amends the competition limits directions after (a) applications close or (b) the eligibility deadline? Can the ACMA describe what the impact would be; for example, would the auction be cancelled or delayed?

The minister can amend the directions he has made on allocation limits (competition limits) for the digital dividend auction.

An amended direction could affect the auction process or timetable, depending on when it was made. We are unable to comment on what the likely impact would be, as it would very much depend on the timing and nature of any amendment to the directions.

Payment arrangements

There appears to be a disconnect between the rules for the final payment steps and the six-month window available to the ACMA to notify a bidder that a breach of the auction rules has occurred and the two options available for eligibility payments. Can the ACMA provide a detailed timeline and process steps required for a winning bidder to make final payment for the balance of the winning price for each payment option?

The ACMA will consider providing a detailed timeline or process flowchart. However, there are a number of variables that could make such a timeline quite complex, including the date the auction ends and whether the ACMA believes a breach of the auction rules has occurred.

Does GST apply to the application fee or the eligibility payment?

The ACMA is of the view that GST is not payable on the application fee or the eligibility payment.


Last updated: 19 May 2017