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Digital radio planning

We work with the radio broadcasting industry to set up digital radio transmissions. These are the steps involved in this process.

Planning principles

The ACMA’s Planning principles for the expansion of digital radio to regional Australia is a guide to the ACMA in exercising its statutory decision making in relation to the rollout of digital radio.

Digital radio regional allotment plans

We work with the radio broadcasting industry on the Digital Radio Planning Committee for regional Australia. We made planning principles to help with the development of regional allotment plans for digital radio.

These plans provide channel allotments for possible future digital radio services.

Digital radio channel plans

We use the regional allotment plans to make digital radio channel plans. We do this in areas where the commercial radio industry has committed to providing digital radio.

These plans set aside channels (also known as ‘frequency blocks’) for digital radio services in each licence area. The plans also set out the number and types of digital radio multiplex transmitter licences to be issued and the technical specifications of the digital radio multiplex transmitters operated under those licences.

We undertake consultation before making a digital radio channel plan. These are published on our consultations page. We alert licensees in the licence area and in neighbouring licence areas of the consultation. We also alert the radio industry peak bodies.

To see all digital radio channel plans, visit the Federal Register of Legislation.

Licence areas for digital radio

Digital radio services are planned in radio areas that are identical to commercial radio licence areas. There are more than 100 commercial radio licence areas in Australia. We make digital radio channel plans for these licence areas where the current commercial radio broadcasters are committed to providing digital radio services.

National radio services (ABC and SBS) and designated community radio services can also provide digital radio in the commercial radio licence area.

Key steps for digital radio transmission

 

Who's responsible

What they'll do

Legislation

1

ACMA

Make a digital radio channel plan for the licence area

Section 44A of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

2

National broadcasters

ABC and SBS can apply for a category 3 digital radio multiplex transmitter licence

Section 102E of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

3

ACMA

Declare that a specified digital radio multiplex transmitter licence is to be a ‘foundation’ digital radio multiplex transmitter licence

Sections 98C and 98D of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

4 ACMA Deem relevant community radio broadcasting licence areas to be the same as specified commercial radio broadcasting licence areas Section 8AD of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992
5 Community radio broadcasting licensees Set up a digital community radio representative company. A written notice inviting subscriptions to shares in the company must be published on the ACMA's website Section 9C of the Radiocommunications Act 1992
6 Commercial radio broadcasting licensees Set up an eligible joint venture company. A written notice inviting subscriptions to shares in the company must be published on the ACMA's website Section 102C of the Radiocommunications Act 1992
7 ACMA Send out an invitation for digital radio multiplex licence applications Subsection 102C(3) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992
8 Eligible joint venture company Apply for a digital radio multiplex transmitter licence Section 102C of the Radiocommunications Act 1992
9 ACMA Issue the digital radio multiplex transmitter licence Section 102C of the Radiocommunications Act 1992
10 Digital radio multiplex transmitter licensee Give the ACCC an access undertaking that sets out the terms and conditions on which the licensee proposes to provide access to commercial and community broadcasters. See the ACCC’s digital radio services web site. Section 118ND of the Radiocommunications Act 1992
11 ACCC Undertake public consultation and accept or reject access undertakings Section 118NF of the Radiocommunications Act 1992
12 ACMA Declare a digital radio start-up day for the licence area Section 8AC of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992
13 Digital radio multiplex transmitter licensee Transmit at least one digital radio broadcasting service from the start-up day and at all times Section 109B of the Radiocommunications Act 1992
Next up: Digital radio regional allotment plans
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