Before you operate a satellite network that transmits to places in Australia, the network must be licensed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA), and coordinated with international bodies. There are different steps to follow if you are using an existing network or setting up a new one.
Satellite networks already coordinated
If you want to use an existing satellite network that has already been licensed and coordinated by the ACMA or another member administration of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), then authorisation simply involves getting the right licence.
You must determine whether your network is operating from an Australian or a foreign space object. The ACMA can regulate foreign space objects over their use of Australian spectrum.
Registering a new network
To ensure that satellite networks do not interfere with each other, they are coordinated by the ITU, and their details are recorded in the Master International Frequency Register (the MIFR).
If you want to establish a new satellite network, the ITU must be notified of the technical details of your network. This process is called ‘bringing into use’.
Bringing a foreign satellite network into use in Australia
A foreign satellite network is capable of providing services to Australia, but is authorised by an ITU member administration other than the ACMA.
The ACMA is required to authorise the operation of services provided to Australia by foreign satellite networks. As an operator or service provider, you must therefore apply to the ACMA for the appropriate licence.
Bringing an Australian satellite network into use
To bring an Australian satellite network into use:
You must request the ACMA to file your network details with the ITU.
Your network will be assessed by the ACMA.
If your request is approved, the ACMA files Advance Publication Information (API) with the ITU. If your request is refused, there is no further action.
The ITU publishes the API in the International Frequency Information Circular (IFIC).
The ACMA files a Coordination Request ('C' Notice) with the ITU.
The ITU publishes 'C' Notice in the IFIC.
Other administrations will advise the ACMA of existing and proposed services that they believe may be affected by the proposed satellite network.
You must assist the ACMA to coordinate your proposed satellite network with networks of other countries that may be affected by its operation.
When coordination is complete, the ACMA will file a Notification Request with the ITU and seek inclusion of your satellite network in the MIFR.
The coordination process
Authorising your network
Once your network has been brought into use, you must also take the following steps to authorise your network: