- What is a datacasting licence?
- Broadcasting services bands
- Licensing option
- Licence conditions
- How to obtain a transmitter licence for a datacasting service
- Transfer of apparatus licences
- Third party operation
- Further information
This information paper provides details of the licensing arrangements applicable to the datacasting licence type.
Datacasting services are governed by regulatory regimes administered by the ACMA. Datacasting services use the broadcasting services bands of the radiofrequency spectrum as a means of delivery.
One of the primary functions of the ACMA is to plan the broadcasting services bands for community, commercial and national radio and television, and datacasting services in accordance with the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA). In addition to planning for the broadcasting services bands, the ACMA is responsible for regulating the broadcasting and datacasting industries, including licensing, programming and ownership and control of services.
Under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Radcomm Act), the ACMA is responsible for regulating the use of the radiofrequency spectrum in Australia. The operation of all radiocommunications transmitters in Australia, including datacasting transmitters, must be authorised by a licence issued by the ACMA under the Radcomm Act.
Datacasting is defined in the BSA. Under the provisions of that Act, licences cannot be issued to authorise any services that do not comply with the definition.
A datacasting service delivers content in the form of text, data, speech, music or other sounds or visual images (animated or otherwise), or in any combination of forms to persons having equipment to receive that service.
A datacasting licence is allocated by the ACMA under the BSA and it authorises the provision of a datacasting service.
In addition, a datacasting licensee must have an apparatus licence allocated by the ACMA under the Radcomm Act. The operation of transmitters used for datacasting is authorised under the datacasting licence type. A datacasting licence authorises the use of one or more transmitters that are operated for the purposes of delivering, by means other than by satellite, a datacasting service to persons having equipment appropriate to receive that service.
The datacasting licence type is defined in the Radiocommunications (Interpretation) Determination 2000.
Under section 109A(1)(h) of the Radcomm Act, datacasting licensees must not operate, or permit the operation of, a datacasting transmitter before 1 January 2007, unless there is in force a BSA datacasting licence authorising the provision of that service.
Transmitters authorised under datacasting licences must operate in the broadcasting services bands. It is expected that datacasting services will usually operate in UHF television channels 28 to 69. The broadcasting services bands are:
|AM Radio||526.5 to 1606.5 kHz (inclusive)|
|FM Radio||87.5 to 108 MHz (inclusive)|
|VHF television channel 0||45 to 52 MHz (inclusive)|
|VHF television channels 1 and 2||56 to 70 MHz (inclusive)|
|VHF television channel 3||85 to 92 MHz (inclusive)|
|VHF television channels 4 and 5||94 to 108 MHz (inclusive)|
|VHF television channel 5A||137 to 144 MHz (inclusive)|
|VHF television channels 6 to 12||174 to 230 MHz (inclusive)|
|UHF television channels 28 to 69||526 to 820 MHz (inclusive)|
There is only one licensing option available within the datacasting licence type:
The operation of radiocommunications equipment authorised by a datacasting licence is subject to:
- conditions specified in the Radcomm Act, including an obligation to comply with the Act
- a condition that any radiocommunication device operated under the licence must comply with all the standards applicable to it
- conditions specified in the licence and
- any further conditions imposed by the ACMA under section 111 of the Radcomm Act
Generally conditions are applied to licences to enable users to communicate effectively with a minimum or interference. All conditions relating to a licence must be complied with.
Section 109A of the Radcomm Act provides many of the conditions relating to the operation of a datacasting transmitter licence.
Licensees are also required to comply with the provisions of the BSA. The Technical Planning Guidelines and licence conditions relating to program content are administered by the ACMA.
Conditions of operation which apply to individual licences will be printed on the licence under the heading 'Special Conditions'.
Datacasting apparatus licences contain a special condition that requires licensees to comply with the Radiocommunications Licence Condition (Apparatus Licence) Determination 2003 (the Apparatus LCD) which came into effect on 1 March 2003. The Apparatus LCD:
- provides that a licensee may only operate a radiocommunications transmitter under certain circumstances
- restricts the exposure of the general public to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from radiocommunications transmitters to a level below recognised exposure limits and
- requires a licensee, in certain circumstances, to demonstrate to the ACMA that EMR from radiocommunications transmitters operated by the licensee does not expose the general public above recognised exposure limits.
Advisory notes, providing information that may be of interest to a licensee, will be printed on the licence under the heading 'Advisory Notes'.
Transmitter licences authorising the operation of datacasting services are issued for a period of ten years, with the option of a once only renewal for a further period of five years. In addition, licensees must commence transmission of a datacasting service within one year following the allocation of the licence, or within a longer period as is notified in writing by the ACMA.
Transmitter licences authorising the operation of datacasting services will be allocated using a price-based allocation process following planning of the available frequency bands for datacasting by the ACMA. Datacasting transmitter licences will not be issued to any person other than a qualified company, as defined in the Radcomm Act.
Spectrum is a valuable resource. Fees are intended to ensure a fair return to the Commonwealth for the private use of this valuable public resource. Licence fees are set having regard to spectrum location, geographical location, amount of spectrum occupied and coverage area authorised by the licence.
Detailed information about fees is provided in the Apparatus Licence Fee Schedule booklet.
Individuals and organisations may be eligible for an exemption or concession from the payment of licence fees. For further information see Licence Fee Exemptions and Concessions.
Apparatus licences may be transferred. Applicants wishing to transfer an apparatus licence should complete and submit to the ACMA, the form entitled Application for Transfer of Apparatus Licence(s) (R060). Both the transferrer and the transferee must sign the transfer form. Applicants are required to pay a transfer charge to cover the ACMA's administrative expenses.
There are a number of limitations on the transfer of apparatus licences. The Radiocommunications (Transfer of Apparatus Licences) Determination 2000 specifies these limitations.
A device authorised by the transferred licence is still required to operate under the same technical conditions (including transmission site) specified on that licence.
Datacasting licences can not be transferred where the transferee is not a qualified company, as defined by the Radcomm Act.
For more detailed information about the transfer of datacasting services licences see section 131ACA of the Radcomm Act, or contact the National Licensing and Allocation Branch (NLAB), ACMA, Canberra.
Licensees may authorise, by written instrument, other persons to operate radiocommunications devices under the apparatus licences. These are known as third party authorisations.
There are a number of limitations on third party authorisations. The Radiocommunications (Limitation of Authorisation of Third Party Users) Determination 2000 specifies these limitations.
Datacasting services licensees must give at least 30 days written notice to the ACMA, prior to the authorisation taking place, stating the licensee's intention to authorise another person to use the licence.
For further information regarding this, or any, licence type please contact Radiocommunications Licensing and Telecommunications Deployment.