Auction summary: 87−88 MHz—low power open narrowcasting licences | ACMA

Auction summary: 87−88 MHz—low power open narrowcasting licences




Auction date—main auction

December 2001

Auction date—residual actions

See list below

Amount raised—main auction

$9,000 (from initial four rounds in 2001)

Amount raised—residual auctions

Allocation results (.xlsx)

Licence end date

Varies—apparatus licences with periods of up to five years and the possibility of renewal were issued.

Important note: The frequency band (87.5–88.0 MHz) for LPON services is made available under section 34 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. The ACMA has made this band available until 31 December 2020; the ACMA cannot issue a licence for an LPON service using this band past this date.

Since 1 March 2001, the former Australian Communication Authority (ACA) was required to issue transmitter licences for LPON services in the 87.5–88.0 MHz FM sub-band by way of a price-based allocation process, as directed by the minister under directions to the Australian Communications Authority No. 3 of 2000. The ACMA continues to follow these directions in allocating LPON licences.

LPON transmitter licences allow for the provision of niche radio broadcasting services, such as tourist and racing information, or language and religious programming. They operate at very low power outputs and are limited to frequencies that are not required for high-power broadcasting services.

Downloads and related information

Spectrum details

Band details

Three low powered open narrowcasting channels (LPON) from the 87.5–88.0 MHz band (87.6, 87.8 and 88.0 MHz)

Licence types

Apparatus licences

Previous use


Licence period

Up to five years (See Important note above under 'Overview')

Allocation details

Type of allocation

Price-based allocation of apparatus licences under section 106 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

Method of sale

The lots were sold by open-outcry auction. However an auction was not necessary when no more than one application was received per lot.

Competition limits

Nil. However, roll-out conditions were applied to apparatus licences issued that required a service to be commenced within six months.

Legal instruments

The above details are also applicable to the allocation of residual LPON spectrum.

Allocation of residual spectrum

Refer to the LPON Planning Model for more information. A spatial representation of the FM radio protection zones is available as a Google Earth placemark (KMZ, 1 MB).

It is important that prospective applicants are aware of the limitations applying to LPONs listed in the table below.

Where there is only one applicant, the ACMA will offer the applicant the opportunity to acquire a licence for its reserve price. Where there is more than one applicant, the ACMA will hold an open-outcry auction to allocate lots. An applicant may bid only on a lot that has been nominated by that applicant and determined under the ACMA's Planning Model for LPON Services.

The reserve prices have been set at:

  • $2,000 for High Density Geographic Locations
  • $1,000 for Medium Density Geographic Locations
  • $250 for Low Density Geographic Locations.

The geographic locations of spectrum density areas are defined in the Apparatus Licence Fees Schedule.

Allocation results from all previous residual rounds.


LPON licences must comply with a number of limitations, namely:

Limited signal strength

Licensee signal field strength levels must not exceed 48 decibels above one microvolt per metre at:

  • two kilometres from the LPON service transmitter in residential areas or
  • 10 kilometres in non-residential areas.

LPON transmitters located:

  • in, or within 20 kilometres from an urban centre must operate at a maximum of 1 watt transmitter power subject to observing the signal field strength limit
  • at least 20 kilometres from the boundary of an urban centre or locality may operate up to 10 watt transmitter power subject to observing the signal field strength limit
  • in residential areas may cover an area within a two kilometre radius
  • in non-residential areas the coverage area may be within a 10 kilometres radius.

Note: Residential and non-residential areas are defined in the Planning Model for LPON Services.

Limited reception

Reception must be limited in some way, such as because the program content targets special interest groups or caters for special events.

Limited frequencies

There are restrictions on the availability of some, or all, of these frequencies in certain areas of Australia. Refer to the LPON Planning Model for more information.

Limited protection from interference

There is no guarantee against interference from mainstream broadcasting service, wherever located but mainstream broadcasting service is guaranteed against interference from LPON services.

No security of tenure

LPON licensees do not have guaranteed tenure of radiofrequency spectrum. If, for any reason, spectrum is required by the ACMA, any affected LPON spectrum may be resumed. The ACMA is not obliged to find replacement spectrum for LPON services.

Service to commence within six months of issue

An LPON licensee must commence a service within six months of being issued a transmitter licence and provide the service with reasonable regularity, unless there are valid reasons for not doing so. The ACMA may cancel a transmitter licence if this condition is not met.

Last updated: 24 July 2018