1 Invitation to participate | ACMA

1 Invitation to participate

The purpose of this paper is to outline the Australian Communication and Media Authority's (ACMA) consultation process for developing technical and regulatory arrangements for the 1800 MHz band.

It provides background information to assist people in making comments to the ACMA on the issues addressed. Information in this paper should not be taken to indicate the ACMA's commitment to a particular policy or course of action.

The ACMA recognises that there is increasing demand for access to spectrum in the 1710-1785 MHz and 1805-1880 MHz frequency ranges (the 1800 MHz band) from various industry sectors. As a result, the ACMA is developing a spectrum management strategy for the band that is intended to address this demand and provide arrangements suitable for the short and longer term. Demand has been demonstrated from:

  • telecommunications operators-to deploy next generation communications services
  • railway authorities-to build a national GSM-R network to support safety and signalling systems
  • mining companies-to facilitate autonomous mining and transport systems
  • energy companies-to enable 'smart infrastructure'.

Much of this demand is due to the availability of long term evolution (LTE) equipment for the band. There is also increasing demand for spectrum in regional areas (including spreading populations around metropolitan areas) and some specific remote areas.

The approaching expiry of existing spectrum licences in the band gives the ACMA an opportunity to consider the appropriate regulatory arrangements in the 1800 MHz band for the short and longer term. The ACMA is keen to engage with interested parties to develop and finalise a strategy for the longer term. The strategy must be consistent with the broader regulatory environment and the ACMA's other spectrum management arrangements. Importantly, it must also meet the needs of current and prospective licensees in the band.

This paper provides information on how interested parties can actively participate in the consultation process to develop the strategy. It also provides an initial opportunity for current and prospective licensees to identify the key issues for the band. The ACMA intends to develop further issues papers that will actively engage stakeholders on particular 1800 MHz band issues.

The ACMA has identified three key issues that will be the subject of future consultation papers. They are:

  • A proposal to make spectrum in regional and remote areas available for use via public telecommunications service (PTS) apparatus licences.
  • A proposal to develop arrangements to encourage greater spectrum sharing between industries.
  • A proposal considering the possible future expansion of spectrum licensing arrangements in regional and remote areas.

Section 3 provides further explanation of each of these issues. The ACMA will also host a workshop where these key issues, along with other matters, will be discussed. The contribution of information and ideas from current and prospective licensees is vital to the ACMA developing the right mix of regulatory and licensing arrangements for the 1800 MHz band. Information on how to participate in the workshop is provided in section 4.

The availability of LTE equipment for the 1800 MHz band has led to significant interest from a number of sectors in deploying 4G communications networks and smart infrastructure systems in this band across Australia. At the same time as addressing the expiry of spectrum licences in major metropolitan areas, the ACMA will work with interested stakeholders to ensure that the arrangements for the whole band are cohesive and maximise the public benefit derived from use of this spectrum.

Last updated: 21 November 2013