Broadcasting class licences | ACMA

Broadcasting class licences

Class licences are not individually issued, but are a standing authority for any operator to enter the market and provide a service, as long as the operator has access to service delivery capacity and abides by the conditions relevant to the particular category of class licence.

The ACMA has determined, by notice in the Gazette, a class licence for the provision of each of the five following services:

  1. subscription radio broadcasting services;
  2. subscription radio narrowcasting services;
  3. subscription television narrowcasting services;
  4. open narrowcasting radio services; and
  5. open narrowcasting television services.

Subscription radio broadcasting services are services which broadcast programs of wide appeal that are provided to the general public on payment of subscription or program-based fees.

Subscription narrrowcasting services are services directed at special interest groups or that are provided only in limited locations or during a limited period or to cover a special event or that provide programs of limited appeal. Reception is only available on payment of subscription or program based fees.

Open narrowcasting services are similar to subscription narrowcasting services, except they are provided free to those with appropriate reception equipment.

Narrowcasting Television Services Guidelines

The ACMA has published guidelines (Narrowcasting Television Services - Guidelines and Information) for the types of services that may be provided as narrowcasting television services.

As the range of potential services becomes clear, the ACMA may also consider issuing a notice under section 19 of the Broadcasting Services Act to clarify further the definition of open narrowcasting and subscription narrowcasting television services.

Broadcasting advertisments with a class licence

Services provided under class licences may broadcast advertisements subject to applicable conditions. A person providing a subscription broadcasting service or a subscription narrowcasting service must ensure that subscription fees continue to be the predominant source of revenue for the service.

How do I know what category of licence my service or proposal service falls into?

If you are providing or intend to provide a broadcasting service you may apply to the ACMA for an opinion as to which of the above categories the service falls into. A fee of $12,300 applies. Applications must be on the form specified (Form ACMA B4). Contact us regarding this form.

The regulation of class licences

Services provided under the Broadcasting Services Act are regulated according to their ability to influence the public. This approach is designed to ensure that while the public interest is protected, small and less influential services are not subject to inappropriate regulation. Services provided under class licences, because of their specialised, closely targeted and limited nature, have significantly less power to influence when compared with commercial broadcasting services.

Service providers under class licences are required to observe licence conditions and codes of practice. Conditions regulate the content of programs, advertisements and other matters. The ACMA is also able to specify additional conditions. Service providers who breach licence conditions or fail to provide the service in accordance with the relevant class licence, can be prevented from providing services under a class licence.

Means of delivery

If you wish to obtain access to the broadcasting services bands (AM, FM radio and VHF, UHF television) you should apply to the ACMA for an apparatus licence on the specified form ACMA form B12 (PDF file) please see further information for guides on completing this form).

If you wish to use other parts of the radiofrequency spectrum you should contact:

Australian Communications and Media Authority
Benjamin Offices
Chan Street, BELCONNEN ACT 2616
Tel: +61 2 6256 5555

If you wish to use cable, you should contact the ACMA on telephone +61 3 9963 6800

If you wish to use satellite as a means of delivery, contact Optus in your State capital city or other satellite service providers.

Further information

If you are interested in obtaining further advice or explanation of the class licence regime you can contact our offices in Canberra.

If you would like to receive further information, we have a more comprehensive Guide for Service Providers of Class Licences.

Last updated: 09 May 2017