Thanks to the stakeholders who attended the 1800 MHz workshop, held recently in our Sydney office. As well as those who were there in person, over a dozen people from around Australia and overseas joined the conversation via webinar.
The workshop was a great opportunity for the ACMA to listen to our stakeholders about how to deliver the best access arrangements to the 1800 MHz band in regional and remote areas of Australia.
Representatives from industry and government discussed both the short- and long-term future of the band, with stakeholders expressing their views on planning arrangements for the 1800 MHz band and considering perspectives from other industries.
Topics discussed included:
- Short-term strategies-making spectrum available for public telecommunication systems so that the public benefits from this highly valued resource.
- Long-term planning-looking at durable licensing arrangements in the band.
- Spectrum-sharing-a new approach to bring together like-minded industries to optimise efficient use of spectrum.
We've summarised some key points from each session below. Presentations from the workshop are available on our 1800 MHz consultation website.
Session 1-Demand for spectrum in the 1800 MHz band
- The 1800 MHz band is perceived as underutilised.
- Operational challenges and technological developments provide an opportunity for the mining industry to realise productivity and safety benefits from the use of LTE services.
- Demand for mobile telephony and mobile broadband services in regional and remote communities is growing, and will increase further with the availability of lower-end smartphone technology.
- Australian rail safety regulators have recommended improvements to communications and signalling systems for rail services in Australia. Safety requirements for rail are supported by the GSM-R standard. The 1800 MHz band is the only band in which GSM-R is currently supported.
Session 2-Future status of fixed links
- The ACMA and fixed-service licensees discussed options for the future status of fixed links in the 1800 MHz band, including:
- maintaining coexistence with new public telecommunications services (PTS)
- making fixed links secondary services and requiring them to coordinate with PTS
- clearing fixed links from the band.
- The practicality of moving fixed links in light of the potential costs involved was considered, noting some costs are associated with Telstra's Universal Service Obligation. Clearing fixed links may not be necessary and perhaps other avenues need to be explored and investigated.
Session 3-PTS licensing priorities
- Attendees generally supported an ordered approach to the release of the band for PTS.
- There were diverse views about the appropriate placement of licensees in the band, but a primary driver is to minimise the impact of future arrangements on licensees.
- Participants observed that the PTS licence category may not be appropriate for all proposed services in 1800 MHz.
- There were some concerns over the methodology for calculating the proposed revised apparatus licence tax.
Session 4-Longer term strategies
- The ACMA offered early thoughts about the development of private parks in Australia, which require significant expansion over the coming months.
- The ACMA sought input from prospective licensees on their planned services and the licensing arrangements that would best suit those services.
We're always keen to hear from stakeholders and we look forward to receiving more comments in response to the first issues paper of this consultation process, which we'll be releasing soon.
Remember to keep up with developments by checking out our 1800 MHz engagement and consultation site.
Acma 1800mhz-workshop-telstra-fixed links-final1 from ACMA : Australian Communications and Media Authority