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ACMA planning instruments

This article is taken from the ACMA's Five-year Spectrum Outlook 2013-2017, published in September 2013.

The Five-year spectrum outlook 2013–2017 is available for download as an e-mag, PDF and word document here. The Table of contents and links to individual sections of the report are available here.

2.3.1 The Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan 2013

The Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan 2013 (spectrum plan) is a legislative instrument administered by the ACMA and is the highest-level spectrum planning document. It divides the Australian radiofrequency spectrum into a number of frequency bands and specifies the general purpose for which each band may be used in Australia. This process is referred to as the allocation of frequency bands to radiocommunication services.

The spectrum plan is drawn from, and kept current with, Article 5 of the ITU Radio Regulations. This publication is revised every few years at the WRC. The Radio Regulations, Edition of 2012, is the latest version. The spectrum plan is designed to:
> make provision for specified types of services to operate in each frequency band, and specify high-level conditions attached to their operation
> be consistent with Australia's obligations as a member of the ITU
> provide details of international frequency allocations agreed by the ITU for the three world regions.
The ACMA has completed its review of the spectrum plan in response to the latest frequency allocation recommendations and resolutions from WRC-12.


Figure 2.1 illustrates how the radiofrequency has been divided into frequency bands. Each of these bands is divided into sub-bands, which are allocated to particular services such as land mobile, radio, broadcasting, aeronautical, maritime or space services. These services are discussed in detail in Chapter 5.


Figure 2.1 Australian radiofrequency spectrum allocations chart

Figure 2.1 Australian radiofrequency spectrum allocations chart


2.3.2 Band plans

Band plans provide detailed instructions on the use of specific parts of the spectrum and there are two types of band plans:
> frequency band plans, which are legislative instruments made under section 32 of the Act and must not be inconsistent with the spectrum plan
> administrative band plans, which serve a similar purpose to frequency band plans but have no statutory status and are instead a statement of policy.
Frequency band plans specify the purposes for which bands may be used and these are summarised in Table 2.1.

Table 2.1 Frequency band plans

Frequency band

First made

VHF Mid Band Frequency Band Plan (70–87.5 MHz)

1991

VHF High Band Frequency Band Plan (148–174 MHz)

1991

900 MHz Band Plan (820–960 MHz)

1992

1.5 GHz Band Plan (1427–1535 MHz)

1996

1.9 GHz Band Plan (1880–1900 MHz)

1996

Mid West Radio Quiet Zone Frequency Band Plan

2011

1900–1920 Frequency Band Plan 2012

2012

Television Outside Broadcast Service (19980–2110 MHz and 2170–2300 MHz) Frequency Band Plan 2012

2012


Administrative band plans serve a similar purpose to frequency band plans, but without the latter's statutory obligations. They provide a policy basis for band usage.

Frequency band

First made

400 MHz Plan (403–430 MHz & 450–520 MHz)

1995

2.3.3 Radiocommunications Assignment and Licensing Instructions

Radiocommunications Assignment and Licensing Instructions (RALIs) are policy documents that provide detailed guidance on specific spectrum access arrangements, such as permitted frequency channelisation and antenna performance characteristics. RALIs are subject to periodic review and are amended as the ACMA considers necessary.

2.3.4 Spectrum embargoes

Embargoes alert industry to the start of a planning process and are used in conjunction with other administrative and planning tools. An embargo includes details of the frequency band, date of effect, coverage area, time frame, instructions and reasons for the embargo.

The ACMA places spectrum embargoes on identified parts of the radiofrequency spectrum from time to time to provide notice of its intention to restrict the issue of new licences in a band, pending its replanning. Replanning usually results in a change in use or a change in the combination of uses of a band. Embargoes are also necessary to minimise the dislocation of affected services that may otherwise occur and to allow for future developments in a band.
The ACMA considers applications for frequency assignments in embargoed bands on a case-by-case basis. Exceptions may be made to an embargo where there is sufficient justification. RALI MS03: Spectrum Embargoes provides the administrative policy basis for spectrum embargoes and contains a list of all current and withdrawn embargoes. The ACMA places a notice about the creation of a new embargo and a link to its contents on its website.

The ACMA considers applications for frequency assignments in embargoed bands on a case-by-case basis. Exceptions may be made to an embargo where there is sufficient justification. RALI MS03: Spectrum Embargoes provides the administrative policy basis for spectrum embargoes and contains a list of all current and withdrawn embargoes. The ACMA places a notice about the creation of a new embargo and a link to its contents on its website.

Last updated: 26 September 2017