The ACMA's review of the band concludes with the release of the Future use of the 28 GHz band: Planning decisions and preliminary views outcome paper.
This release signals the progression of the 28 GHz band to the ‘re-planning’ phase under the ACMA’s planning process and sets out an agenda for the implementation of a range of new measures, including:
- An increase in the amount of spectrum available for ubiquitous fixed satellite services (FSS) use, including the availability of at least 1.9 GHz of contiguous uplink spectrum Australia-wide (when considered in conjunction with existing arrangements in the adjacent 29.5–30 GHz frequency range). This expands to 2.5 GHz of spectrum outside of large population centres. The ACMA will also investigate approaches that may allow uncoordinated FSS use in an additional 600 MHz of spectrum within large population centres, potentially with some constraints—this would enable access to a total of 2.5 GHz of spectrum Australia-wide.
- The continuation of apparatus licensing arrangements for FSS earth stations across the entire 28 GHz band Australia-wide, providing access to 2.5 GHz of spectrum on a coordinated, first in-time basis.
- The introduction of arrangements for fixed wireless access (FWA) services across the entire 28 GHz band. This will be on a co-primary basis with apparatus licensed FSS earth stations in large population centres in the 27.5–28.1 GHz frequency range, and on a secondary (no protection) basis to the FSS in other areas and frequencies. Similar to the 26 GHz band, the ACMA will investigate using the proposed new area-wide apparatus licence type to enable this use.
- The removal of arrangements for new fixed point to point (PTP) services in the 28 GHz band and grandfathering existing services for a minimum seven years. It is noted that if area-wide apparatus licence arrangements are implemented in the band, new PTP services could be deployed within individual licence areas. The ACMA will also revise PTP arrangements in the 38 GHz band to provide an alternative option for new wide-channel systems.
The ACMA will shortly commence work on providing new arrangements to facilitate the replanning of the 28 GHz band. The paper outlines the next steps, which include future rounds of consultation on:
- Updates to the Radiocommunications (Communication with Space Object) Class Licence 2015 to investigate and implement the changes proposed for ubiquitous FSS in the 28 GHz band. This will also consider possible arrangements for ubiquitous FSS in the associated FSS downlink band (17.7–20.2 GHz).
- Apparatus licensing arrangements to support FWA use in the 28 GHz band. This includes investigating use of the proposed new area-wide apparatus licences. Work on this issue will be combined with the development of spectrum and apparatus licensing arrangements in the 26 GHz band.
Relationship to ACMA work on 26 GHz
In coming to its view on the 28 GHz band, the ACMA had regard to planning decisions made for the 26 GHz band. This has allowed for a more holistic assessment of the spectrum needs of the services and applications seeking access to the bands than would have been the case if they were considered in isolation.
Overall, the ACMA’s recent decisions on the 26 GHz and 28 GHz bands have established new planning arrangements for over 5 GHz of mmWave spectrum (see 'Figure 1' in the Outcome paper) of great interest for both terrestrial and satellite broadband services. This is in addition to shared access to mmWave spectrum under class licensing arrangements in the 60 GHz band which the ACMA made available in August 2019.
The ACMA received 25 submissions to this consultation. These can be accessed from the right hand side index box under 'Other submissions received'.
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Future use of the 28 GHz band: Planning decisions and preliminary views
Replanning of the 28 GHz band
The 28 GHz band (27.5–29.5 GHz) is the subject of domestic and international interest for a range of applications including satellite broadband and is one of the bands at the forefront of global interest in the use of millimetre wave (mmWave) frequencies for terrestrial 5G wireless broadband.
This paper represents the next step in planning for the 28 GHz band. It follows on from the 28 GHz spectrum planning discussion paper released in September 2018 and takes into account feedback provided on the relevant services and applications potentially accessing the band, international trends and the outcomes from the 26 GHz replanning process. A series of planning options in the band are identified in the paper along with currently preferred options of the ACMA.
The ACMA has identified interest in the 28 GHz band from the following applications/services:
- wide-area wireless broadband services, which are traditionally deployed by large mobile network operators and some fixed telecommunication carriers
- fixed wireless access services which cater for smaller, local area subscriber services such as those provided by wireless internet service providers or other dedicated (for example, miners, local government) wireless (generally fixed) broadband networks
- fixed satellite service which uses gateway earth stations and ubiquitous earth stations (fixed earth stations at unknown locations and earth stations in motion, typically authorised to operate under a class licence)
- fixed point-to-point services which are used by many different services and operators to backhaul data
- high altitude platform stations which operate at altitudes of 20–50 kilometres and are proposed for the provision of broadband services.
This paper analyses the different planning issues for each of the services interested in using the 28 GHz band as well as any sharing and coexistence issues. From this analysis four broad planning options for the band have been identified.
Relationship to ACMA work on 26 GHz
In assessing the identified options, the ACMA considered the outcomes of the 26 GHz planning process. These planning outcomes provide substantial arrangements for wide-area terrestrial wireless broadband (for 5G) and some fixed wireless access use. Due to the substitutability between the bands, the planning decisions and preliminary views made for the 26 GHz band provide relevant context for the options (and ACMA preferences) identified for the 28 GHz band.
The outcomes of the 26 GHz process have been released in parallel to this discussion paper and are detailed in the paper Future use of the 26 GHz band: Planning decisions and preliminary views.
Issue for comment
The ACMA invites comments on the issues set out in this paper.
Specific questions are featured in the paper and collated below:
- Do stakeholders have comments or further views on the services and planning issues discussed for the 28 GHz band?
- If a decision was made to remove 28 GHz PTP arrangements, what is the minimum appropriate length of time to grandfather existing PTP licences?
- Are there any other conditions that should be considered for PTP grandfathering?
- Are there any other technical issues the ACMA should consider regarding the ability for WWB, FWA, PTP and FSS to share or coexist in the 28 GHz band?
- Do stakeholders have comments on any of the options proposed in this section or other options to propose?
- Is the definition of ‘large population centres’ (as described in Appendix A), suitable for application in Options 1a, 1b, 2 and 3?
- Do stakeholders have any comments on the assessment of each option against the Spectrum Management Principles?
- Is there any relevant evidence that provides an indication of the value the WWB sector places on additional spectrum in the 28GHz band?
- Is there any relevant evidence that provides an indication of the value the FWA sector places on additional spectrum in this band?
- What value do PTP operators place on having access to 112 MHz channels? If similar arrangements could be implemented in the 38 GHz band, would they be a suitable replacement for the 28 GHz band?
- Is there any evidence that provides an indication of the value the PTP sector places on maintaining access to this band?
- Is there any evidence that provides an indication of the value the FSS sector places on access to this band?
- The ACMA invites comment on its currently preferred options. Should other options be considered?