The ACMA is responsible for planning and allocating all parts of the radiofrequency spectrum used for free-to-air broadcasting services in Australia. These are called the broadcasting services bands.
Our planning for these bands is accompanied by wide public consultation. And, at the end of the planning process for each area, the ACMA prepares a licence area plan or LAP. This is a comprehensive blueprint for the development of all free-to-air broadcasting in that area. Technical characteristics prescribed in LAPs, and the ACMA’s Technical Planning Guidelines, are a non-negotiable ‘envelope’ of the technical parameters and procedures within which broadcasting licensees must do their detailed planning.
Key features of LAPs:
- They are legal instruments setting out the number, characteristics and the technical specifications of all radio and television services in a licence area.
- They specify the category—commercial, community, national and narrowcasting—of any existing and proposed new services in a licence area.
- Schedules attached to a LAP determination detail the geographic area and a unique service licence number identifying each commercial and community service. National or open narrowcasting services are not required to have service licences.
The schedules also detail:
- unique transmitter specification numbers identifying each transmitter required for the proposed or existing services
- the location of the transmitter site
- the height of the transmitter, including the geographical location and the standard Australian Grid Map Reference
- the general area served by each transmitter.
Other technical information such as the transmitter’s emission details, broadcasting services band and mode of transmission, assigned frequency, signal polarisation and output radiation pattern, is also included in the schedules.
While the technical specifications set out in LAPs are not negotiable after they are finalised, there is a process to modify the sites of transmitters.