Consultation on the variation to the labelling requirements for spectrum licences is now complete
The ACMA has finalised its consultation process proposing variation to the labelling requirement for spectrum licences. Based on the submissions received, the ACMA is proceeding with the next steps outlined in the consultation paper.
The ACMA received submissions from Optus and Telstra in response to the consultation paper Proposed changes to labelling requirement for spectrum licences. The submissions are available below:
Submissions supported the proposal to remove the requirement for a spectrum licensee to affix a label to transmitters located at communal sites. A condition will now be included in spectrum licences requiring spectrum licensees to keep a record of transmitters deployed under their licence and make the record available to the ACMA, upon request.
The ACMA has made the new Radiocommunications (Labelling) Determination 2013 (the Labelling Determination). Under the Labelling Determination spectrum licensees are no longer required to affix a label to transmitters located at communal sites.
The ACMA has varied all spectrum licences to include a new condition requiring spectrum licensees to maintain defined records of transmitters operating at communal sites and to make the record available to the ACMA upon request. The new condition to the spectrum licences is made under section 71 of the Radiocommunications Act. Spectrum licensees will receive a notice of variation made under section 73 of the Radiocommunications Act setting out the variation to their spectrum licences. These notices are to be attached to the existing spectrum licence as an addendum to the licence. Where new licences are to be issued, for example, re-issued spectrum licences in the 800 MHz and 1800 MHz band and the new spectrum licences issued in the 700 MHz and 2.5 GHz bands, the conditions will be included in the spectrum licences issued to the licensees.
Spectrum licensees are not required to remove any existing labels as defined in the Radiocommunications (labelling) Determination 1997 (revoked). However for the purpose of identification, the ACMA encourages licensees to place ownership labels on each of the transmitters. This has been included in the notes section of each spectrum licence.
The Radiocommunications (Labelling) Determination 1997 required that spectrum and apparatus licensees must affix a label to the transmitter if it meets the criteria outlined in the determination. The main purpose of labelling is to assist the ACMA in its compliance and investigation functions. The label establishes ownership of a given transmitter and provides a visual indication that the transmitter is licensed and compliant with the relevant technical framework and conditions of the licence. It also provides a mechanism for resolving interference.
Within the next five years, the ACMA estimates that there will be a large number of spectrum-licensed transmitters, both new and reissued that will be subject to the current labelling requirements. The ACMA is aware of the regulatory burden and compliance cost associated with labelling each of the transmitters. In addition, the ACMA considers that labelling is becoming increasingly ineffective as the majority of new spectrum licensed transmitters are located on masts and towers and the labels are often located in inaccessible areas.
The ACMA sought comments of interested stakeholders on proposals to amend the labelling requirements for spectrum-licensed transmitters located at communal sites. The proposed arrangements included:
- removing the requirement to affix a label identifying the device registration number on spectrum-licensed transmitters
- requiring spectrum licensees keep a record of transmitter details
- requiring spectrum licensees to provide a copy of the record as soon as practicable when requested by the ACMA
- encouraging spectrum licensees to clearly label each transmitter with identification or ownership details
- encouraging spectrum licensees to keep the Register of Radiocommunications Licences up to date by removing registration details of those devices that are no longer in use.
The consultation paper is available below:
Consultation paper—Proposed changes to labelling requirements for spectrum licences
The closing date for submissions was Tuesday 9 April 2013.
Publication of submissions
In general, the ACMA publishes all submissions it receives.
The ACMA prefers to receive submissions that are not claimed to be confidential. However, the ACMA accepts that a submitter may sometimes wish to provide information in confidence. In these circumstances, submitters are asked to identify the material over which confidentiality is claimed and provide a written explanation for the claim.
The ACMA will consider each confidentiality claim on a case-by-case basis. If the ACMA accepts a claim, it will not publish the confidential information unless authorised or required by law to do so.
Release of submissions where authorised or required by law
Any submissions provided to the ACMA may be released under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (unless an exemption applies) or shared with other Commonwealth Government agencies under Part 7A of the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005. The ACMA may also be required to release submissions for other reasons including for the purpose of parliamentary processes or where otherwise required by law (for example, under a court subpoena). While the ACMA seeks to consult submitters of confidential information before that information is provided to another party, the ACMA cannot guarantee that confidential information will not be released through these or other legal means.
The ACMA is working to enhance the effectiveness of its stakeholder consultation processes, which are an important source of evidence for its regulatory development activities. To assist stakeholders in formulating submissions to its formal, written consultation processes, it has developed a guide called Effective consultation: A guide to making a submission. This guide provides information about the ACMA's formal, written, public consultation processes and practical guidance on how to make a submission.