Australia's priorities for spectrum planning: the ACMA's work plan | ACMA

Australia's priorities for spectrum planning: the ACMA's work plan

FYSO 2016-20

A work plan for the current financial year, an update on the mobile broadband program and planning for significant technology developments out to 2020—such as 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT)—are the key elements of this year’s edition of the Australian Communications and Media Authority Five-year spectrum outlook (FYSO), released today.

‘We have changed the FYSO this year to deepen engagement with industry and citizens on the ACMA’s spectrum management priorities and work plan,’ said ACMA Acting Chairman Richard Bean. ‘They will find more information on what the ACMA is working on and why, and have more opportunity to comment, including on the format and detail of the work plan.’

The work plan identifies milestone tasks and timings for priority spectrum management activities to be completed over the 2016-17 financial year.

Website updates will communicate progress and changes to the work plan. An industry tune-up will be held in the first half of 2017.

This FYSO also includes the first detailed update of the ACMA’s mobile broadband work program, released in February.

The ACMA will be releasing a combined discussion paper on planning issues in 1.5 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands in the coming weeks. The ACMA is bringing forward consideration of the 3.6 GHz band at least four months earlier than originally foreshadowed. This is in response to increasing worldwide interest in the band, which has been identified for possible use for 5G mobile telecommunications.

‘The changes we have made will make the ACMA’s spectrum work program, and our accountability for it, clearer and increase the value and relevance of the FYSO to everyone with an interest in spectrum management,’ Richard Bean said.

‘It also highlights our planning for new technological developments: 5G, IoT and dynamic spectrum access (DSA),’ he added.

‘Getting the spectrum access settings for 5G and IoT right will be fundamental to the success of those technologies in Australia, and the contribution they will make to productivity and economic growth.’

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

Media release 34/2016 - 5 October


The FYSO provides an overview of the ACMA’s spectrum management priorities over the short to medium term, and the ACMA’s plans to address them. It also provides visibility to stakeholders about how the ACMA is directing its resources and which spectrum projects it considers a higher priority.

This year’s FYSO is in four parts:

Part 1 sets out the ACMA’s high-level approach to decision-making, how evidence is used to identify priorities and develop work programs, and information on external pressures that affect spectrum management.

Part 2 presents the ACMA’s 12 month work plan in two parts:

  • Detailed updates on significant projects are grouped under three broad themes:
    • Maximising the overall public benefit arising from the use of spectrum
    • Reducing the cost to business arising from regulation
    • Implementing reform outcomes
  • Projects and activities listed in two tables on the basis of band-by-band projects and regulatory and service planning projects.

Part 3 contains the ACMA’s mobile broadband strategy update, which is included in the FYSO for the first time. The update outlines each of the projects that fall under the program, with details such as the project phase, work undertaken and next steps.

Part 4 sets out the ACMA’s spectrum management work programs it expects to commence, or continue to progress, during 2017-20. It represents the ACMA’s preliminary thinking on priorities and provides an early opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback on the ACMA’s proposed planning framework.

The FYSO establishes the ACMA’s spectrum management priorities on an annual basis, while allowing some latitude for changes in priority or approach due to the unpredictable nature of some of the ACMA’s spectrum challenges. This includes shifts in the external environment, such as spectrum reform.

As part of its mobile broadband strategy, the ACMA undertook to include an updated mobile broadband work program on an annual basis that would form part of the ACMA’s FYSO. The October 2016 update sets out detailed information on the mobile broadband spectrum planning project broken down into the various planning stages.

The FYSO will remain a key part of the ACMA’s engagement strategy with industry and the community by facilitating consultation and constructive dialogue with interested stakeholders. As with the previous editions of the FYSO, the ACMA will respond to submissions via the release of the next edition of the document.

The ACMA seeks feedback from interested stakeholders and citizens to assist the ACMA in delivering spectrum management activities consistent with our strategic goal—‘to make communications and media work in Australia’s public interest’.

Last updated: 05 October 2016