On 19 June 2012, the Australian Government announced the digital dividend auction, initially scheduled for November 2012, will be conducted in April 2013. In the media release, the government considers this revised timing will maximise the product certainty for potential bidders. It will also provide sufficient time for bidders to plan and deploy networks before their licences commence on 1 January 2015.
Government funding was provided in the 2012–13 Budget to meet costs associated with:
restacking commercial and national broadcasters’ digital television services from the digital dividend spectrum to alternative bands
contracting a nationwide contractor (Broadcast Australia) to manage the restack process.
The government has appointed Broadcast Australia to develop and manage a nationwide restack timetable. This task will be completed in two stages:
developing a timetable by early July 2012 featuring multi-month timing windows in which specified affected services will restack
developing a more detailed timetable in November 2012 featuring indicative dates on which all affected services will restack.
The timetables developed by Broadcast Australia will inform the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA)’s development of television licence area plans, which will give legal effect to the broadcasters’ moves.
These initiatives are being implemented to facilitate the government’s objective of finalising the restack process by 31 December 2014.
In light of the minister’s announcement responding to stakeholder concerns regarding product certainty and licence commencement, there is no longer a need for the ACMA to undertake a specific consultation on this issue.
Stakeholders who have any outstanding concerns regarding the auction date, or matters related to the availability of spectrum in the 700 MHz band, can incorporate their feedback in the second round of consultation on the draft legislative instruments, which is scheduled for July 2012.
Auction application and registration timeline
To help you understand what an April 2013 auction means from a procedural point of view, we have prepared an updated timeline outlining the application and registration process.
This timeline sets out the anticipated dates for key milestones in the lead-up to the auction, including points where prospective bidders will need to provide information to the ACMA if they wish to participate.
Please note that this timeline is indicative only and the dates may be subject to change.