Before a satellite network can be brought into use over Australia, the ACMA must provide a general description of the network, known as the Advance Publication Information (API), to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
This information is published in a special section of the ITU's fortnightly International Frequency Information Circular (IFIC) and enables all ITU members to assess the likely impact of the new network on existing or planned networks.
The API must identify the satellite network and the date it is to come into use, provide orbital information and other characteristics of the network such as frequency range, class of stations and nature of service.
As the communications administration for Australia, the ACMA will only file an API to the ITU on behalf of satellite operators whose networks meet its published criteria and who successfully apply for use of an access to an ITU satellite system.
An API can only be submitted to the ITU by the administration of a member state. If a network being established is based on a foreign space object, the network operators must contact the responsible foreign administration to file an API.
How is the API filed?
Since 3 June 2000, APIs, including all alphanumeric data, must be provided in electronic database format. The ITU has developed software known as SPACECAP to enable information to be formatted appropriately.
What happens to the information?
While this first step is obligatory it does not confer any rights or priority for the filing Administration. The purpose of the API is simply to provide an opportunity to verify that your proposed satellite network needs to be coordinated with those already in service (i.e. recorded in the Master International Frequency Register ) or those already subject to coordination and yet to be brought into service.
How long does it take?
An API should be provided to the ITU at least two years but no more than five years before the date the network is brought into service.
For any API lodged with the ITU since 22 November 1997, the ITU Radio Regulations require that the satellite network be brought into use within seven years of the lodgement date. However, administrations can seek extensions of up to two years.
If a satellite network is not brought into use within the period allowed by the ITU Radio Regulations, the API and any subsequent coordination requests are cancelled by the ITU.
Once the API is published in the IFIC, other administrations have up to four months to assess the satellite network's potential to interfere with their existing and proposed networks and advise the ACMA if frequency coordination will be required.