ACMA releases Five‑year spectrum outlook 2014–18 | ACMA

ACMA releases Five‑year spectrum outlook 2014–18

A plan to review Australia’s strategy for mobile broadband and a forward-looking strategic research program headline this year’s edition of the Australian Communications and Media Authority's Five-year spectrum outlook (FYSO).

The FYSO highlights all the issues in the Australian spectrum environment that will influence spectrum management priorities in the near term. Informed by stakeholder contributions, the FYSO 2014–18 complements the ACMA’s upcoming – RadComms2014 conference, Spectrum rebooted—taking stock. RadComms is widely regarded as Australia’s peak spectrum management conference. 

‘A discussion about Australia’s mobile broadband strategy will be a feature of Day 1 of RadComms2014, with the work plan provided in the FYSO informing that discussion,' said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman.

‘As we know from the results of our research released earlier this year, mobile broadband contributed a significant 2.28 per cent increase to Australia’s total GDP over the period 2007 to 2013. But mobile broadband is just the start in exploring the GDP contribution from spectrum. Spectrum supports many more industries and public interest uses, so to quantify and unlock the value of spectrum across the economy, the ACMA is broadening the scope of its research program to look at other significant sectors.

‘Consistent with the theme of our conference, the Outlook also sets out how the ACMA will take stock of our existing spectrum management decision-making framework to ensure that our future regulatory approach continues to remain fit for purpose, relevant and as light touch as is feasible while reflecting international experience and regulatory best practice,’ Mr Chapman added.

This edition describes the spectrum demand environment and the ACMA’s strategic direction and spectrum priorities in response to this demand, explaining how these priorities are determined and how the ACMA decides which work programs will be delivered across the 2014–18 period.

‘To manage any possibility of a future spectrum crunch, the ACMA will need to continue to take long-term planning horizons into account, given the long lead times associated with changing uses of spectrum. The ACMA continues to critically evaluate demand and the need for spectrum across all sectors to better understand the complex and dynamic interaction of social, economic and technical factors that drive spectrum requirements,’ Mr Chapman said. 

With only a week to go, more tickets to RadComms2014 have been made available. The full program is available, and you can register to guarantee your place.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or

Media release 54/2014 - 3 September



The FYSO communicates the ACMA’s work program for the 2014–18 period and summarises those things that it considers may affect spectrum management in Australia over the next five years.

It sets out the ACMA’s strategic direction and priorities for the short- to medium-term in response to the environmental factors influencing spectrum demand and thus provides greater insight and transparency for spectrum users about both.

This edition differs from previous editions as it includes detailed explanation on how the ACMA determines its priorities and decides which work programs are to be delivered. These work programs assist in meeting the increased demand for access to spectrum by existing and emerging services and technologies and ensure the public benefit from use of spectrum is maximised.

Key priorities and themes discussed in this edition of the FYSO include:

>      The mobile broadband strategy—The tension between enabling the economic and societal benefits derived from mobile broadband, and the importance of balancing this growth with the continued provision and development of other important uses of spectrum are several of the key considerations being undertaken by the ACMA in its mobile broadband activities. 

>      The review of spectrum regulation—The ACMA is working alongside the Department of Communications in the Spectrum Management Review announced by the Minister for Communications on 23 May 2014. This review provides an opportunity to update the spectrum management regulatory framework by systematically assessing the ‘fit’ of current and proposed regulatory tools to the contemporary and emerging communications environment.

>      Spectrum as an economic enabler—The ACMA expects to build on the results of its research into the economic impacts of mobile broadband on the Australian economy by broadening its scope to look at other significant sectors.

>      Innovative approaches to regulation—The quick adoption of new technologies and services ensure economic benefits accrue to both industry and consumers. Therefore, it is important that the radiocommunications regulatory framework is able to quickly respond to the changing spectrum environment and continue to meet stakeholder needs.


Last updated: 21 October 2016