20/30 GHz Band Technical Framework | ACMA

20/30 GHz Band Technical Framework

This section summarises the technical framework underpinning spectrum licensing in the 20 GHz and 30 GHz bands.


In April 2006, ACMA completed converting existing Department of Defence wide-area apparatus licences in the 20 and 30 GHz bands to spectrum licences. These bands were being used for satellite communications. The minimal technical framework below supports the continued use of the bands for that purpose.

The technical framework consists predominately of the core and other conditions of the two spectrum licences.

The entire technical framework is predicated on the assumptions that:

  • spectrum and apparatus licensees will employ good engineering practice in establishing and maintaining their services; and
  • receivers employed by apparatus licensees will, as a minimum, meet the relevant standard made under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 or, if there is no such standard, any level of performance referred to in the advisory guideline that applies to the apparatus licensed service in question; and
  • spectrum licensees will be responsible for managing interference that they, or their third party authorisees, cause to their own services through their operation of devices under any spectrum licence or apparatus licence.

The interference mechanisms that the technical framework seeks to manage are those caused by:

  • unwanted in-band emissions;
  • emissions falling outside the frequency band of the licence;
  • transient unwanted emissions such as those caused by switching a transmitter; and
  • intermodulation effects.

All four of these mechanisms are controlled by the core conditions relating to out-of-area and out-of-band emissions.

The technical framework also provides an additional control in relation to out-of-band interference through a licence condition that imposes on the spectrum licensee the responsibility to manage out-of-band interference that arises from devices being located within 200 metres of a fixed transmitter operated under the spectrum licence.

Core Conditions

Emission Limits Outside the Area

The licence area is the entire geographic area of Australia. Emission limits for transmissions outside the area are those defined in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations, including any relevant ITU satellite network filings and coordination agreements.

Emission Limits Outside the Band

Emission limits for transmissions outside the band are those defined in Appendix 3 of the Radio Regulations as published by the ITU for emissions in the spurious domain.

International co-ordination

The ITU Radio Regulations have international treaty status and are binding on Australia. Transmitters operated under a spectrum licence, other than in accordance with ITU Radio Regulations, must not cause interference to any services of any other country which are operating in accordance with ITU Radio Regulations.

If operation of a transmitter does cause harmful interference to overseas services operating in accordance with ITU Radio Regulations, the transmission must cease. Spectrum licensees must also accept interference from any overseas service operating in accordance with ITU regulations. Potential spectrum licensees should note that ACMA will impose such additional licence conditions on spectrum licences as may be necessary to meet its international obligations.

Space and Earth stations operated under these licences must be in accordance with frequency assignments recorded in the Master International Frequency Register of the ITU.

Health and safety

Every spectrum licensee will need to take into account occupational health and safety requirements for radiofrequency devices. Occupational health and safety requirements that concern use of radiofrequency devices are currently the responsibility of the relevant State or Territory Governments. In addition, licensees will be required to comply with any health exposure standards that may be made by ACMA for the health and safety of persons who operate, work on or use radio-communications transmitters and receivers.

Environmental and other considerations

Antenna location, height and construction may be regulated by State, Territory or local government legislation. Before planning for a device to operate in a certain location, licensees should investigate the local rules pertaining to the erection of towers and antennas.

Last updated: 11 November 2016