This page describes the outcomes of the review of the frequency range 2500-2690 MHz (the 2.5 GHz band) and long term arrangements for electronic news gathering (ENG). Work is focused into three areas:
- conversion of existing 2.5 GHz Television Outside Broadcast Network (TOBN) apparatus licences to spectrum licences in the mid-band gap;
- the reallocation of 2500-2570/2620-2690 MHz via spectrum licences; and
- developing long term arrangements for ENG in alternative bands to the 2.5 GHz band.
Both conversion and reallocation processes are dependent on Ministerial consideration by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (the Minister) of recommendations from the ACMA. In response to such recommendations, the Minister has recently made a notice designating the mid-band gap for spectrum licensing – which is necessary to enable conversion of existing 2.5 GHz TOBN apparatus licences to spectrum licences; and a reallocation declaration to enable the price-based allocation of spectrum licences in the frequency ranges 2500-2570 and 2620-2690 MHz. These instruments are discussed further below.
Designation of the 2.5 GHz mid-band gap
Following a consultation process, the ACMA has recently made the Radiocommunications Spectrum Conversion Plan (2.5 GHz Mid-band Gap) 2012 which will allow conversion of apparatus licences in the mid-band gap to spectrum licences. The ACMA has also made the instruments which make up the technical framework which will underpin the new spectrum licences. Those instruments are:
In February 2012 the Minister made the Radiocommunications (Spectrum Designation) Notice No. 1 of 2012 designating the 2.5 GHz mid-band gap (2570-2620 MHz) to be allocated as spectrum licences.
This followed the ACMA’s recommendation that, in line with the 2.5 GHz band review, that the Minister designate the 2.5 GHz mid-band gap (2570-2620 MHz) to be allocated as spectrum licences. The terms of the proposed designation notice for the 2.5 GHz mid-band gap were set out in the information paper Review of the 2.5 GHz band and long-term arrangements for ENG – designation proposal (PDF 487 kb or Word 354 kb) on which the ACMA consulted in June and July 2011.
Any enquiries may be directed to Manager, Spectrum Outlook and Review Section on (02) 6219 5430 or by email to
Reallocation of specified parts of the 2.5 GHz band
The ACMA has provided a recommendation to the Minister that he declare specified parts of the 2.5 GHz band (2500-2570 MHz and 2620-2690 MHz) to be allocated via spectrum licences.
The ACMA is reallocating the 700 MHz band and the 2.5 GHz band in a single process. The terms of the recommendation and further information regarding this reallocation of spectrum can be found at the following page: Allocation of the 700 MHz (digital dividend) and 2.5 GHz bands.
On the 1 November 2011, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (the Minister) made a Spectrum Re-allocation Declaration, declaring that parts of 700 MHz and 2.5 GHz band are to be reallocated as spectrum licences. The declaration set out that:
- the frequency bands 703-748 and 758-803 MHz in the 700 MHz band are to be reallocated as spectrum licences; and
- the frequency bands 2500-2570 and 2620-2690 MHz in the 2.5 GHz band are to be reallocated as spectrum licences.
Stakeholders may also be interested in subscribing to a monthly e-bulletin about the forthcoming 700 MHz and 2.5 GHz auctions. Further information on subscribing to the Spectrum Auction e-Bulletin can be on the Spectrum auction e-bulletin webpage.
Long term arrangements for ENG in alternative bands
The ACMA is has finished working on the frequency band plan under section 32 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 to give effect to the new arrangements for ENG operation in the alternative bands.
Before making a decision on arrangements for accommodating different types of TOB applications within the alternative bands, the ACMA has decided to seek further advice from industry. Revised proposals have been developed after considering submissions to October 2011 consultation. They are contained in a response to submissions paper to the October 2011 proposals.
Before making a decision on arrangements for accommodating different types of TOB applications within the alternative bands, the ACMA has decided to seek further advice from industry. The ACMA has developed several proposed arrangements that have been developed from information gathered from submissions to the October 2011 discussion paper.
In Australia the 2.5 GHz band is currently almost exclusively licensed to the commercial free-to-air television broadcasters and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for ENG.
Note: In the context of the 2.5 GHz review, the phrase 'ENG' is taken to encompass the following:
- Electronic News Gathering (ENG): the rapid, unplanned deployment of links to cover breaking news events, generally for short periods of time;
- Television Outside Broadcast (TVOB): a planned use of group links employing a variety of techniques to provide specialist coverage of a particular event such as live sports, live entertainment and cultural events; and
- Electronic Field Production (EFP): a planned use of links to provide elements of a television production. This technique can be used for 'live' to air television or pre-recording for later broadcast (the latter generally involves more elaborate television production values).
Following identification of the 2.5 GHz band internationally for use by Wireless Access Services (WAS), harmonisation of the band for WAS is increasing across advanced economies.
The ACMA therefore commenced a review of the arrangements for the 2.5 GHz band with the following key objectives:
- maximising the overall benefit derived from the spectrum; and
- providing long term certainty for the incumbent licence holders of the band.
Following a range of consultation processes outlined below, the ACMA formed the view that in order to achieve those objectives it is necessary to implement new arrangements in the 2.5 GHz band and a range of 'alternative bands'; other bands which are directly affected by the planned changes in the 2.5 GHz band.
These new arrangements will involve:
- reallocation of 2500-2570 MHz and 2620-2690 MHz for spectrum licences;
- conversion of apparatus licences currently held by the commercial free-to-air broadcasters and the ABC to 15 year spectrum licences on an Australia-wide basis in 2570-2620 MHz ('the mid-band gap' of the 2.5 GHz band); and
- ENG access to the following 'alternative bands':
- shared use of the bands 2025-2110 MHz and 2200-2300 MHz;
- exclusive use of the band 2010-2025 MHz, at least in capital city areas; and
- ENG access to 1980-2010 MHz and 2170-2200 MHz, with the caveat that mobile-satellite services may be introduced into these bands in the future, with the ACMA investigating the viability of long-term sharing between ENG and mobile-satellite services.
Proposed new arrangements in the 2.5 GHz band
This work forms part of the wider WAS Strategy announced in October 2008 (MR 124/2008), which identified several frequency bands, including the 2.5 GHz band, with the potential to support emerging WAS (see Strategies for Wireless Access Services for further information).
On 12 January 2010 the ACMA released the discussion paper Review of the 2.5 GHz band and long-term arrangements for ENG. The paper set out a range of options to achieve the objectives of the 2.5 GHz band review, and identified a combined conversion/reallocation approach as the preferred means of facilitating the highest value use of the 2.5 GHz band and for providing incumbent users of the band with access to spectrum into the future.
The ACMA received 42 submissions in response to the discussion paper, of which one was classified as commercial-in-confidence. The submissions can be viewed on the ACMA website.
In October 2010 the ACMA released a Response to Submissions paper which marked the end of the consultation phase on the 2.5 GHz band review and allowed the review to move into the implementation phase. The Response paper summarised the issues raised in submission to the January 2010 discussion paper; provided the ACMA's preliminary response to those issues; and outlined the processes the ACMA will undertake during the implementation phase (see MR 132/2010).