Accessing radiofrequency spectrum | ACMA

Accessing radiofrequency spectrum

There are many things to consider when determining the most effective way of accessing radiofrequency spectrum for your system or business needs.

Your spectrum access requirements will depend on how your communication services are delivered.

Before developing whole new systems with new spectrum requirements, you should first consider how it may be possible to meet user needs through existing infrastructure or service providers. Small businesses now regularly use existing public systems such as GSM mobile telephony rather than their own private mobile radio networks to meet their business needs.

New services that can support increasingly demanding user requirements are being introduced internationally. For example, the roll out of new generations of terrestrial networks or satellites designed for delivering advanced telecommunications and navigation services.

If your communications or technology requirements as a service provider are incompatible with existing systems and there is no suitable current spectrum allocation, you will need to approach the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) to start the spectrum allocation process.

To ensure continuity of service for existing providers and users, spectrum plans are drawn up many years in advance. When spectrum access planning occurs, the following issues are considered:

  1. Service characteristics - what types of services do you intend to offer, noting that there could be several different types and several bands necessary to provide an integrated solution?

  2. Band selection - what bands will best suit your intended applications and what are the current uses of those bands?

  3. Incumbency issues - are there incumbents in your desired bands and can they be cleared if necessary?

  4. Licensing - what is the appropriate form of licensing for your various applications?

  5. Standards - what standards need to be developed to ensure interoperability and interference management, and what organisations would do this work?

  6. Industry involvement - how will all of this work be co-ordinated with industry?

  7. Harmonisation – will your development require be domestic or international harmonisation?

Given the long lead times that are usually necessary for international and domestic spectrum planning, you should consult with the ACMA about your spectrum requirements long before you intend to build your service.

While the ACMA is always happy to consult and assist where it can, the ACMA is not equipped to play an industry development role. The ACMA would not be able to respond, for example, with detailed technical advice about how a system might be implemented or other development issues raised by potential equipment suppliers or service providers.

Last updated: 26 November 2013