At their broadest level, Australian spectrum allocation arrangements are embodied in a statutory instrument known as the Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan. The Spectrum Plan divides the Australian radiofrequency spectrum into a number of frequency bands and specifies the general purpose and use for each band. This process is referred to as the allocation of frequency bands to radiocommunication services. The Spectrum Plan is intended to:
provide a basis for management of the radiofrequency spectrum in Australia
inform and educate radiocommunication users and the public about the various types of services that can be operated in each frequency band, and the conditions attached to their operation
reflect Australia's obligations as a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
provide details of international frequency allocations agreed by the ITU for the three world Regions.
The Spectrum Plan, including additional informative material, is published as the Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan 2017. The Spectrum Plan is reviewed on a regular basis and updated in response to the Final Acts of ITU World Radiocommunication Conferences. These conferences occur nominally at four yearly intervals, the last being held in Geneva, Switzerland, November 2015.
An update to the Spectrum Plan has recently been made, incorporating changes from this latest conference along with updates on several domestic issues.
This new version of the Spectrum Plan came into effect on 1 January 2017.
The Spectrum Plan is available on the Federal Register of Legislation.
The ACMA also publishes the Spectrum Plan as part of a document which includes additional information about the Plan and about spectrum use in Australia in general. This document is available for download below, and consists of:
- Chapter 1, the general information section, which introduces the basis of the Plan, gives broad guidance in its use, and discusses the international framework from which it is developed.
- Chapter 2, the Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan, which is the legal instrument whose contents bind the ACMA in making decisions on the use of the radiofrequency spectrum.
For further details on current use of and issues related to radiofrequency spectrum in Australia, and to view the further direction of the ACMA’s spectrum management, please refer to ACMA’s Five-year spectrum outlook.
Unspecified services—decisions under subsection 10(10)
The 2017 version of the Spectrum Plan introduced a new provision (subsection 10(10)) which allows the ACMA to approve the operation of an unspecified service in a frequency band in certain circumstances. The ACMA has prepared a policy document which describes the use of this new clause in detail. It discusses the circumstances in which the new subsection is intended to be used, and what factors will be considered when making a decision on whether to authorise an unspecified service.
The policy document is available from the downloads table below.
Decisions under section 10(10):
Spectrum Illustrated is a graphical guide to major spectrum allocations in Australia. It offers a simplified view of where services such as mobile telephones, satellites and television are located in the radiofrequency spectrum. Spectrum Illustrated has been developed as an educational guide and as such does not show all the uses of the radiofrequency spectrum detailed in Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan. Spectrum Illustrated is available from the downloads table below.