Bringing a space-based service into use | ACMA

Bringing a space-based service into use

The phrase ‘bringing into use’ refers to the process of registering and coordinating a space-based communications or broadcasting service with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and its members. Member states designate particular government departments or agencies, known as Administrations, to represent their interests at the ITU. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) is the Australian Administration.

‘Bringing into use’ leads to a permanent record of the service or satellite network in the ITU’s Master International Frequency Register (MIFR). A permanent record in this register means that all member states of the ITU have agreed that the network can operate according to the specified technical characteristics, and will be protected from interference by other existing or new services.

Bringing a foreign satellite network into use in Australia

A foreign satellite network is any that an Administration other than the ACMA has brought into use.

Foreign satellite networks may be capable of providing services to places in Australia. The ACMA is required to authorise the operation of services provided to Australia by foreign satellite networks. If you are the operator or service provider, you must apply to the ACMA for an appropriate licence.

When you submit your application for a licence, the ACMA will consider:

  1. if your network has been coordinated with Australian radiocommunications services
  2. if your network is consistent with Australian planning and licensing arrangements, and
  3. which type of licence is most appropriate to authorise your network.

Bringing an Australian satellite service into use ITU

Australian satellite networks are based in Australia, and may be capable of providing services within Australia or to other countries.

The steps involved in bringing an Australian satellite network into use are:

  1. The satellite operator requests the ACMA to file the proposed satellite network with the ITU.
  2. The ACMA assesses the request in accordance with its published criteria.
  3. If the request is approved, the ACMA files Advance Publication Information (API) with the ITU. If the request is refused by the ACMA, there is no further action.
  4. The ITU publishes the API in the International Frequency Information Circular (IFIC).
  5. The ACMA files a Coordination Request ('C' Notice) with the ITU.
  6. The ITU publishes 'C' Notice in the IFIC.
  7. Other Administrations advise the ACMA of existing and proposed services that they believe may be affected by the proposed satellite network.
  8. The ACMA assists the satellite operator to coordinate their proposed satellite network with networks of other countries affected by its operation.
  9. When coordination is complete, the ACMA files a Notification Request with the ITU and seeks inclusion of the satellite network in the MIFR.

Chart of the coordination process

Chart of the coordination process

Authorising your network

Once your network has been brought into use, you must also take the following steps to authorise your network:

  1. Sign a Deed of Agreement and a service contract with the ACMA.
  2. Apply to the ACMA for the relevant licence.

Satellite networks already brought into use

If you want to use an existing satellite network that has already been brought into use by the ACMA or another member Administration of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), then authorisation simply involves getting the right licence.

You must determine whether your network is operating from an Australian or a foreign space object. The ACMA can regulate the use of Australian spectrum by foreign space objects.

Last updated: 14 October 2013