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Planning for wireless broadband use of urban areas in the 3400–3475 MHz band - consultation 31/2021

We are investigating options to support use of the 3400–3475 MHz band by wireless broadband services in various capital cities. We are also proposing several changes to the 3.4 GHz spectrum licence technical framework. 

Submissions now public
Consultation number
IFC 31/2021
Days remaining 0 of 35 days
  • 1

    Open for comment

    27 Aug 2021
  • 2

    Consultation closed

    30 Sep 2021
  • 3

    Outcome and submissions published

    17 Dec 2021

Key documents


After going through the submissions, we have decided to amend the 3.4 GHz technical framework. We have moved forward in our consideration of options for use of urban excise areas. For full details, please see the outcomes paper in the key documents box above.

The key outcomes are:

  • Amendments to the 3.4 GHz technical framework:
    • We have amended the Radiocommunications (Unacceptable Levels of Interference – 3.4 GHz Band) Determination 2015. This was detailed in the options paper and includes some minor changes to the Radiocommunications (Unacceptable Levels of Interference – 3.4 GHz Band) Amendment Determination 2021 (No. 1). The updates were based on comments we received from stakeholders.
    • We have made changes to RALI MS44.
    • We will write to all 3.4 GHz band spectrum licensees. We will ask for their agreement to amend the receiver spurious emission limits on their licences.
  • We think that Options 3 and 4 (as detailed in the options paper) should be explored for the implementation of arrangements in urban excise areas. We will consider these options further. To ensure the best long-term outcomes, the options will be considered in the context of work underway across the broader 3400–4000 MHz band to develop planning and allocation arrangements for wireless broadband use. We aim to decide on the use of urban excise areas in mid-2022.


The issue

In November 2019, we released the Optimising arrangements for the 3400–3575 MHz band – Planning decisions and preliminary views paper. Some of the key outcomes of this paper were:

  • A plan to vary Radiocommunications assignment and licensing instruction (RALI) MS44 – Frequency coordination procedures for the earth station protection zones. This was so that earth station protection zones in eastern Australia cover parts of the band not subject to spectrum licensing.
  • Plans to convert NBN Co’s apparatus licences in the 3400–3575 MHz band to spectrum licences. This was to facilitate spectrum licensees in defragmenting their spectrum holdings.
  • To work with NBN Co to surrender any licences it holds in defined urban areas where it does not plan to provide terrestrial wireless broadband services (referred to as urban excise). We also committed to working with industry to investigate ways to make this spectrum available for use by other wireless broadband operators.

We believe there is a clear case for changes to the 3.4 GHz spectrum licence technical framework to support the NBN conversion process and band defragmentation. We also want to look at ways to make urban excise areas available for use by wireless broadband operators other than NBN Co.

The ACMA has also taken the chance to consider updates to the Radiocommunications (Unacceptable Levels of Interference – 3.4 GHz Band) Determination 2015. Such changes are being made to similar instruments in other spectrum licence bands. We also want to align receiver spurious emission limits with international standards.

In light of the above, we have developed proposed amendments to the 3.4 GHz spectrum licence technical framework and options for the use of urban excise areas.

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