23 June 2017
Next steps on the future of the 3575-3700 MHz band (the 3.6 GHz band)—touted as a pioneer band for 5G mobile broadband—are put forward in a consultation package released today.
‘In line with our established mobile broadband strategy, we want to make sure Australia is well placed to take advantage of the emergence of 5G technologies both in the cities and the regions,’ said Australian Communications and Media Authority acting Chairman, Richard Bean.
‘The ACMA acknowledges the strong interest in the 3.6 GHz band for 5G and other wide area broadband uses, while also recognising that there are existing services and licensees using these frequencies that want to continue operating.’
The consultation papers include:
- Future use of the 1.5 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands ̶ Summary of and response to 3.6 GHz band related submissions (the Summary of Submissions paper)
- Future use of the 3.6 GHz band – Highest value use assessment- Quantitative Analysis (the HVU paper)
- Future use of the 3.6 GHz band – Options paper (the Options paper).
The papers identify a range of possible re-planning options for the 3.6 GHz band. They include a detailed explanation of and reasoning for the ACMA’s currently preferred option to make spectrum available in metropolitan and regional areas for new services. It proposes various mitigation measures to reduce the effects of any change on incumbents in the band, including unusually lengthy adjustment periods.
‘We have identified spectrum in the 5.6 GHz band that may be made available for point-to-multipoint users including Wireless ISPs to grow their businesses into the future,’ Richard Bean added. ‘We are also investigating the establishment of “Earth station protection zones” to aid ongoing long-term use of the 3.6 GHz band by satellite services.’
The ACMA seeks public comment on the options for the future use of the 3.6 GHz band. Make your comments here. Deadline for submissions is Friday, August 4 2017.
The ACMA also intends to hold a spectrum tune-up for the 3.6 GHz band on 12 July 2017 that will include presentations from both industry and the ACMA. For more information or to register your interest in attending, please visit the 3.6 GHz band spectrum tune-up webpage.
The ACMA released the discussion paper Future use of the 1.5 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands on 20 October 2016, which sought industry feedback on the ACMA’s medium and longer-term planning approaches to address rising demand for mobile broadband services in the 1.5 and 3.6 GHz bands. 72 submissions and one supplementary submission were received in response.
Following consideration of responses, the 1.5 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands have been progressed from the initial investigation to the preliminary re-planning stage of the ACMA’s spectrum management process for mobile broadband, as outlined in the ACMA’s mobile broadband strategy.
Given international developments and strong domestic interest, the ACMA has also decided that consideration of the 3.6 GHz band should be prioritised over the 1.5 GHz band. A more timely resolution of what, if any, re-planning would occur in the 3.6 GHz band will also provide certainty to incumbent services regarding long term arrangements in the band and any alternative options available to them.
As part of its mobile broadband strategy, the ACMA is committed to undertaking a comprehensive assessment of the highest value use (HVU) of a band during the preliminary re-planning stage of the process for consideration of additional spectrum for mobile broadband services. Following on from the preliminary assessment of HVU included in the 2016 discussion paper, and using feedback obtained from stakeholders as part of that process, the ACMA has undertaken a comprehensive HVU assessment of the 3.6 GHz band.