Skip to main content

Expiry of the 20 and 30 GHz spectrum licences - consultation 10/2020

Spectrum licences in the 20 GHz and 30 GHz bands are expiring soon.

Submissions now public
Consultation number
IFC 10-2020
Days remaining 0 of 43 days
  • 1

    Open for comment

    01 May 2020
  • 2

    Consultation closes

    12 Jun 2020

Key documents

The Issue

On 27 April 2006, the Department of Defence was issued with two spectrum licences covering the 20.2 to 21.2 GHz and 30 to 31 GHz bands Australia-wide. These are referred to as the 20 and 30 GHz spectrum licences. They will expire on 26 April 2021.

Current use

The 20 and 30 GHz spectrum licences are used for military satellite communications.

The band, often referred to as the ‘military Ka band’, is also used by allied nations for military satellite communication (satcom) purposes. It is expected to support future Defence satcom capabilities.

Defence have advised that access to this band will be required for the foreseeable future.

Regulatory arrangements

The 20.2 to 21.2 GHz and 30 to 31 GHz bands are allocated in the Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan (ARSP) 2017 to fixed-satellite and mobile satellite services in the space-to-earth (20 GHz) and earth-to-space (30 GHz) directions.

Both bands are covered by ARSP Australian Footnote AUS100, which states:

'This band is designated for use by the Australian Defence Force and Department of Defence. The Department of Defence is to be consulted in considering non-defence use of this band.'

The 20 and 30 GHz spectrum licences are unique in that they are the only spectrum licences currently issued to the Department of Defence.

Options for expiring spectrum licences

There are 2 high-level options for authorising access to the 20 and 30 GHz bands in the future—continue via spectrum licensing or revert to apparatus licensing.

Under sections 81 and 82 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992, there are 2 options available for expiring spectrum licences which maintain the 20 and 30 GHz bands under a spectrum licensing regime:

  • a price-based allocation process in accordance with section 60 of the Act
  • reissue licence to the same licensee without a price-based allocation process where certain public interest considerations apply

An alternative to re-issuing the 20 and 30 GHz Defence spectrum licences is reverting to an apparatus licensing regime.

The process for considering options for expiring spectrum licences must begin with the publishing of a notice under section 78 of the Act.

Have your say

The ACMA invites expressions of interest in response to the section 78 notice.

Make a submission

Use the ‘Upload a submission’ button at the top of this page send your submission.

Submissions by post can be sent to:

The Manager Spectrum Planning Section
Australian Communications and Media Authority 
PO Box 78
Belconnen ACT 2616

Or via email to:

Back to top