When a satellite network is established, the operator is subject to the charging regime of the ACMA and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The ACMA's fees are determined using cost-recovery principles and are consistent with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines.
The three main areas in which fees may be charged are for:
1. Use of ACMA services and facilities
The ACMA has established a charging regime for the services and facilities that it provides to support the operation of Australian satellite networks. The related charges, which are reviewed annually, allow the ACMA to meet its statutory obligations and support the development of a competitive and diverse satellite communications industry in Australia.
The main elements of the charging regime are a non-refundable charge of A$16,093.00 (GST inclusive) and cost recovery charges.
Non-refundable charge apply to new operators that have not yet filled satellite networks with the ACMAS. The fee covers the work done by the ACMA to assess a request to file satellite network with the ITU and to file an Advanced Publication Information and a Coordination Request following a successful assessment. Any additional network filing request will be charged on cost recovery basis.
Cost recovery charges apply to service and facilities provided by the ACMA to established operators. Currently, the ACMA's charges are calculated on an hourly rate/expense incurred basis and are based on standard hourly rate of A$164.00 excluding GST.
2. Processing fees charged by the ITU
The ITU charges processing fees for satellite network filings on a cost recovery basis. Detailed arrangements for the implementation of those cost recovery charges are set out in ITU Circular Letter CR/225 of 2 December 2004.
The ACMA asks the ITU to send its invoices for fees incurred in processing a coordination directly to the satellite network operator involved and to provide copies to the ACMA. Operators are responsible for paying the ITU and informing the ACMA of their payments.
The ITU allows one 'free' filing entitlement to each administration every year. Use of the annual free filing entitlement is at the discretion of the ACMA. Generally the ACMA will recover the value of the free entitlement from the satellite operator concerned and use the revenue to support activities that benefit all Australian satellite operators. In exceptional circumstances, the ACMA may agree to forego recovering the value of the free entitlement from the operator.
The ACMA will not continue with a satellite filing if ITU cost recovery charges for that filing are not paid. It will either cancel or, if possible, reallocate a filing for a satellite network if these charges are not paid.
3. Licence fees
Apparatus licence fees for space systems are designed to recover the ACMA's costs in managing the radiofrequency spectrum, and provide a return to Government for use of the spectrum resource.