Spectrum after scarcity: joint ACMA & Swinburne event | ACMA

Spectrum after scarcity: joint ACMA & Swinburne event

Rethinking radiofrequency management for a connected society 

Spectrum after scarcity—Rethinking radiofrequency management for a connected society was jointly hosted by the ACMA and Swinburne University of Technology on 29 July 2015.

Governments in many parts of the world are reconsidering the ways they manage radiofrequency spectrum.

Confronting challenges like 5G, the Internet of Things and connected cars, the European Commission is considering ‘a consistent single market approach to spectrum policy and management’ as part of proposals for ‘an ambitious overhaul of the telecoms regulatory framework’. In the UK, an expert group is working to develop a consistent method for fully valuing radiofrequency spectrum in public and private use, and expects to report later this year. A particular focus in many countries is new mechanisms to enable spectrum sharing.

Spectrum after scarcity is a three-year project funded by the Australian Research Council. The ACMA, in conjunction with Swinburne University of Technology, is hosting this spectrum tune-up. The leading researchers and practitioners from Europe and Australia who are working on this project will present and discuss recent research and policy options about spectrum management, including new approaches to valuation and sharing.  

While existing spectrum management tools were constructed to deal with scarcity, this project aims to reconceptualise spectrum management. The goals of the research include:

  • providing policy-makers and regulators with solid, cross-country evidence on the impact of the spectrum management reforms of the 1990s
  • offering fresh analysis of the state’s role in the era of ubiquitous computing and communication
  • informing looming decisions about spectrum allocation and reallocation
  • helping non-specialists understand the policy challenges of managing this vital resource.

The respected researchers Martin Cave (Imperial College, London), Erik Bohlin (Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg) and Rob Nicholls and Jock Given (Swinburne University of Technology discussed the future of spectrum and answered your questions.  

Copies of the Presentations

For video copies of the presentations, please contact Nicole Brown at BCP@acma.gov.au or (02) 6219 5555.


Martin Cave

Martin Cave

Martin is Visiting Professor at Imperial College Business School, London, and Inquiry Chair, United Kingdom Competition & Markets Authority. Previously BP Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics and Professor at the Warwick Business School, he has co-authored Spectrum Management, to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2015. He conducted an Independent Audit of Major Spectrum Holdings in 2006 after carrying out a Review of Radio Spectrum Management for the UK Ministers in 2002.

Erik Bohlin

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Erik is Professor of Technology Management and Economics at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. He has been Chair of the International Telecommunications Society since 2004 and, since 2009, Editor-in-Chief of Telecommunications Policy—one of the leading journals in the field of regulation, policy and strategy for the information and communications technology markets. From 2008–09, he was Special Advisor to Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner on Information Technology and Media.

Jock Given

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Jock is Professor of Media and Communications at Swinburne University of Technology. He has been published in journals including Telecommunications Policy, Journal of Information Policy, Info, Business History and Historical Records of Australian Science. He recently published (with Michael Brealey and Cathy Gray) TV 2025: Rethinking Small Screen Media in Australia, and was previously Director, Communications Law Centre; and Director, Legislation and Industry Economics, Department of Transport and Communications.

Rob Nicholls

Rob Nicholls

Rob is a Research Fellow at Swinburne University of Technology and a communications specialist with more than 30 years experience in technology, regulatory and business strategy in telecommunications and broadcasting in the UK, Australia and the US. He has an Honours Degree in communications and electronics engineering from the University of Birmingham and a PhD in Politics and International Relations from UNSW. Rob is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the author of the latest update of the ‘Radiocommunications’ chapter for the LexisNexis publication Communications Law and Policy in Australia.

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Date: Wednesday 29 July 2015, 1.45 pm (for a 2.00 pm start) to 5.15 pm

Venues: Presenters will be in the Sydney office and will be video conferenced to the Canberra and Melbourne offices

  • ACMA Sydney OfficeLevel 5, The Bay Centre, 65 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont
  • ACMA Canberra Office—Red Building, Chan St, Belconnen
  • ACMA Melbourne Office—Level 32, Melbourne Central Tower, 360 Elizabeth St
2.00 PM


ACMA representative

2.05 PM

Introducing the three-year ARC-supported research project, Spectrum after scarcity: rethinking radiofrequency management for a connected society
Jock Given, Professor of Media and Communications, Swinburne University, and Chief Investigator, Spectrum after scarcity

2.10 PM 

Spectrum valuation
As part of the UK Government’s spectrum strategy announced in March 2014, a panel of experts was appointed to advise on options for developing ‘a consistent methodology for assessing the full value of spectrum to the UK’. Conclusions will be published in 2015. Panel member Martin Cave expresses his personal views on the issues involved, including externalities and non-economic benefits.
Martin Cave, Visiting Professor, Imperial College Business School, and Inquiry Chair, UK Competition & Markets Authority

2.35 PM 

Questions and discussion

2.50 PM 

Spectrum management under the EU’s ‘Connected Continent: Building a Telecoms Single Market’ strategy
The ‘digital single market strategy’ launched in May 2015 by the European Commission includes a commitment to present proposals in 2016 for ‘an ambitious overhaul of the telecoms regulatory framework’ focusing on, among other things, ‘a consistent single market approach to spectrum policy and management’. Erik Bohlin describes and analyses the plans.
Erik Bohlin, Professor of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology Gothenburg, and Chair, International Telecommunications Society

3.15 PM 

Questions and discussion

3.30 PM 


3.45 PM 

Singapore’s hetnet trials
Singapore’s spectrum regulator, the IDA, has set aside spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz band for hetnet trials this year. Rob Nichols is travelling to Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong in June to interview key stakeholders about this and other developments in spectrum management. His presentation examines whether making spectrum available on a trial basis has improved prospects for deploying hetnets in Singapore and what lessons can be applied in other countries.
Rob Nicholls, Research Fellow, Swinburne University of Technology

4.15 PM 

Reflections, Q&A and discussion on the scope for novel and flexible sharing options, including a much smaller weight given to exclusivity. This includes a discussion of steps to take now that would promote this outcome.

Martin Cave and Erik Bohlin,
Chair: ACMA representative 

5.15 PM 


Last updated: 26 July 2017