Spectrum outlook: issues, priorities and public benefits | ACMA

Spectrum outlook: issues, priorities and public benefits

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How to deal with the increasing sophistication and utility of wireless technologies and the rapidly growing and competing demand for scarce spectrum are two of the key challenges identified in the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s annual Five-year spectrum outlook (FYSO), released today.

This year’s FYSO has been released in conjunction with the ACMA’s Beyond 2020— A spectrum management strategy to address the growth in mobile broadband capacity discussion paper (mobile broadband paper).

‘The FYSO is an annual update that the ACMA has been using since 2009, both as a key transparency measure and to solicit feedback from interested parties,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. ‘Stakeholders can use the FYSO to identify when the ACMA expects a particular work program to start and to understand the priorities it intends applying to particular activities.

‘The challenge of balancing the needs of existing spectrum users with facilitating access for new technologies and for broader applications is an increasing focus for the ACMA, as access to spectrum has become a key driver of productivity in a digitised economy,’ Mr Chapman added.

One of these challenges will be maintaining appropriate spectrum arrangements for mobile broadband into the future. As the national spectrum manager, the ACMA plays an important role in facilitating the continued growth in mobile broadband capacity.

The mobile broadband paper describes a draft set of strategies, including a transparent spectrum management planning process, for identifying potential future spectrum options for mobile broadband. To that end, the FYSO plays an integral part in keeping stakeholders informed on the ACMA’s mobile broadband strategies and articulates the proposed work programs outlined in the mobile broadband paper.

In keeping with last year, this year’s FYSO is provided in three parts:

Part 1 outlines the ACMA’s decision-making framework, tools, external issues and how evidence informs the FYSO and the ACMA in developing its work programs. It provides an overview of the year ahead and how the ACMA plans to respond to these pressures.

Part 2 describes the ACMA’s key priority areas and work program for the near term. The ACMA’s mobile broadband strategy, the review of the 1800 MHz band in regional and remote Australia, and reviews of the 800, 900 MHz and 400MHz bands are current priority areas.

The ACMA’s work program has four broad themes: maximising the overall public benefit, reducing the cost to business arising from regulation, implementing current reform priorities and ensuring the national interest.

Part 3 sets out the ACMA’s five-year spectrum management work plan, with indicative timeframes for a variety of projects, as well as responses to identified pressures, so stakeholders have an early but focussed opportunity to provide feedback to the ACMA about the plan.

This is the seventh consecutive year that the ACMA has developed and published the FYSO.

For more information see Backgrounder below or to arrange an interview, please contact: Blake Murdoch, on (02) 9334 7817, 0434 567 391 or media@acma.gov.au.

Media release 45/2015 - 10 September


The FYSO is an annual update that provides an opportunity for consultation and collaboration with industry, government and international colleagues. Stakeholders can use the FYSO to identify when the ACMA expects a particular work program to commence, to understand the priority applied to particular activities by the ACMA and to provide timely, focussed feedback on both.

The FYSO 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.

The FYSO communicates the ACMA’s work program for the 2015–19 period and summarises issues that it considers may affect spectrum management in Australia over the next five years.

The 2015-19 FYSO emphasises again the ACMA’s commitment to consultation, cooperation and collaboration with industry, government and international colleagues. This edition sets the scene for the continuation of the ACMA’s strategic research and policy initiatives and its involvement in the Government’s reviews of the spectrum management framework and the ACMA. This edition also outlines:

  • the ACMA’s decision-making framework and how evidence informs the development of the FYSO
  • the ACMA’s priorities for the year ahead, in the context of the significant issues identified for spectrum management in Australia
  • the ACMA’s research into the economic implications of spectrum use
  • the release of the ACMA’s preliminary thinking on the mobile broadband strategy
  • the key priority areas and work programs for the near term
  • the ACMA’s commitment to working with the government as it implements the recommendations of the spectrum review.

The ACMA actively 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: 10 September 2015