There are several costs associated with establishing and operating a satellite network. Network operators are subject to the charging regime of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). There are three main areas in which fees may be charged. Read on to learn more.
Use of ACMA services and facilities
The ACMA has established a charging regime for the services and facilities it provides to support the operation of Australian satellite networks. The related charges, which are reviewed annually, allow the ACMA to meet its statutory obligations and support the development of a competitive and diverse satellite communications industry in Australia. The ACMA’s fees are determined using cost-recovery principles and are consistent with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines.
Operators who need to file a new network with the ITU will incur a non-refundable charge. The ACMA charges an upfront amount which is outlined in the Radiocommunications (Charges) Determination 2007. The fee covers the work by the ACMA to assess your filing request and, following a successful assessment, to file an Advanced Publication Information and a Coordination Request for your satellite network with the ITU. Any additional network filing requests will be charged on a cost recovery basis.
Cost recovery charges apply to services and facilities provided by the ACMA to established operators. Currently, the ACMA's charges are calculated on an hourly rate/expense incurred basis and are based on a standard hourly rate set out in the Radiocommunications (Charges) Determination 2007.
Processing fees charged by the ITU
The ITU charges processing fees for satellite network filings.
Prior to submitting data to the ITU that will attract an ITU fee, the ACMA will raise an invoice for an estimate of the fees in Australian dollars. This estimate will include an amount to cover currency fluctuations. This money will be held in trust by the ACMA until the payment is made. After the payment is made, the satellite operator will be credited the difference between the actual fee and the amount held in trust if it is greater, and charged for the difference if it is less.
The ITU allows one 'free' filing entitlement to each member Administration every year. Use of the annual free filing entitlement is at the discretion of the ACMA. The ACMA will usually recover the value of the free entitlement from the satellite operator concerned and use that revenue to support activities benefitting all Australian satellite operators. In exceptional circumstances, the ACMA may agree to forego recovering the value of the free entitlement from the operator.
The ACMA will not continue with your satellite filing if you have not paid ITU cost recovery charges for that filing. Your filing will either be cancelled or, if possible, reallocated for a different satellite network.
Apparatus licence fees for space systems are designed to recover the ACMA's costs in managing the radiofrequency spectrum, and provide a return to Government for use of the spectrum resource.