24 June 2010
ACMA to consult on the configuration and allocation of digital dividend spectrum
Today's announcement by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, confirming the size of the spectrum 'digital dividend’ from analog television switch-off, has paved the way for the ACMA to consult with potential spectrum purchasers. This consultation will start with the release of a public discussion paper in the third quarter of this year setting out planning and allocation issues and options for new spectrum licences.
‘Today's Ministerial announcement allows the ACMA to commence detailed design work to determine how best to put this spectrum back to work after the analog television closure,’ said the ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.
Uses of 'digital dividend' spectrum are expected to include advanced wireless broadband services, massively expanding the capacity of mobile telephone services to carry broadband data. Wireless broadband data traffic has begun to grow exponentially in recent years, driven by consumer devices such as Apple's iPhone. There are widespread industry expectations this growth will continue.
‘Where spectrum is to be allocated for wireless broadband, benefits to the Australian population will be maximised by a price-based allocation of spectrum licences to those who value them the most,’ said Mr Chapman.
With the final switch-off of analog television scheduled for late in 2013 in the largest cities, there will be time to complete the allocation of the new licences before the spectrum becomes available. This should minimise any period of 'dead air' between analog TV switch-off and the commencement of new services under spectrum licences and provide certainty to parties both vacating and entering the digital dividend spectrum space.
‘The ACMA will plan the digital dividend in full consultation with spectrum users,’ Mr Chapman added.
The ACMA welcomes contact from potential purchasers of digital dividend spectrum throughout the digital dividend allocation consultation process as well as spectrum users who believe they may be affected by the re-planning of the broadcasting services bands.
‘Yielding the digital dividend will require the closest of cooperation with the free-to-air television industry. Other uses of affected broadcasting spectrum will also require consultation and the development of options for future operations. For example, some wireless microphones used for stage productions and small scale public address will be affected by this decision.
‘The ACMA is confident that suitable spectrum will be found for the continuation of wireless microphone operation.’
The ACMA has received additional funding for its work in assisting the migration of broadcasting services out of the 'digital dividend' spectrum and in configuring and selling new licences that make use of vacated spectrum, and has recently established a Digital Transition Division in recognition of the enormous significance of this work.
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Donald Robertson, Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7980, 0418 86 1766 or email@example.com.
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The ACMA is Australia’s regulator for broadcasting, the internet, radiocommunications and telecommunications. The ACMA’s strategic intent is to make communications and media work in Australia’s public interest. For more information: www.acma.gov.au.
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