20 October 2010
ACMA seeks views on the configuration and allocation of ‘digital dividend’ spectrum
The Australian Communications and Media Authority today released a discussion paper seeking comment on technical and policy issues associated with the reallocation of the ‘digital dividend’ spectrum.
Digital dividend (or 700 MHz band) spectrum will become available for reassignment to new licensees and uses as Australia completes its transition to digital television broadcasting technology. The first step, digital switchover, is already happening across the country and involves turning off the analog TV signal. This is expected to be finalised nationally by the end of 2013.
In the next step, frequency channels used for digital broadcasting will be re-organised or ‘restacked’ so that a continuous block of spectrum—the digital dividend—can be created for re-use. The ACMA and the free-to-air TV industry are working closely to complete these two important steps towards yielding the benefits from digital dividend spectrum.
The discussion paper provides both a roadmap setting out the ACMA’s planned process for reallocation of the digital dividend and also identifies key issues that will shape the configuration and allocation of the band.
‘The ACMA will be developing an allocation approach that seeks to put the digital dividend spectrum back to work in a way that maximises the benefits to the Australian public,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.
‘This is the first significant consultation stage. The ACMA will continue to plan the release of the digital dividend in full consultation with stakeholders.’
Elements that the ACMA is seeking comment on include:
- the appropriate configuration of spectrum and guard bands to accommodate new licensees;
- when and where the spectrum should become available; as well as
- suitable spectrum licence conditions and auction arrangements.
Uses of the digital dividend are expected to include advanced wireless broadband services that would greatly improve the capacity of mobile telephone services to carry broadband data. The demand for wireless broadband has started to grow rapidly in recent years. There are widespread industry expectations that this trend will continue, especially with the growing popularity of smart phones and other mobile computing devices.
As part of the current consultation the ACMA will also be holding a Digital Dividend Spectrum Tune-Up that will be open to all stakeholders and include speakers from industry and government. The tune-up will be held in Sydney on 3 November 2010 and offers stakeholders the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the issues raised in the discussion paper. It will also be an avenue for giving feedback to the ACMA about the digital dividend allocation.
‘The Digital Dividend Spectrum Tune-up will follow closely on the release of the discussion paper, and is an important stage of this early consultation. I would like to invite and encourage all stakeholders to take part in this event,’ said Mr Chapman.
The discussion paper, Spectrum Re-allocation in the 700 MHz "Digital Dividend" Band, is available on the ACMA website. The closing date for submissions is Monday, 6 December 2010.
Submissions in response to the discussion paper should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the discussion paper consultation and how to make a submission is available on the ACMA website. Enquiries can also be made by calling (03) 9963 6906.
Details about the Digital Dividend Spectrum Tune-up and how to attend are also available.
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.