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Radcomms 2012: Spectrum issues and the Convergence Review - Malcolm Long


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  • 1. ACMA RADCOMMS CONFERENCE 2012 Spectrum and the Convergence Review Presented by MALCOLM LONG 1
  • 2. Background> Review announced by government (with Background paper) in December 2010; began in May 2011> Framing paper (May); Emerging Issues paper (July); Five discussion papers (Sept)> 340 submissions from community & industry groups; 8 city consultation tour; Twitter/Facebook> High level Interim Report (Dec)> Final Report submitted to government 30 March 2012 2
  • 3. Convergence Review was ‘big picture’in scope> Review the current policy framework for the production and delivery of media content and communications services.> Develop advice for government on the appropriate policy framework for convergence.> Advise on the principles that will underpin any new framework.> Advise on ways of achieving new framework, including implementation options and timeframes.> Advise on the potential impact of reform options on industry, consumers and the community. 3
  • 4. Review went back to first principles -10public policy goals were widely endorsed> Citizens should have freedom to communicate> Access to media & opportunities for participation> Services should be diverse, innovative & competitive> Australian & regional content should be available> Sourced from a dynamic local production industry> There should be local news & information services> Content reflect community expectations on standards> A broad range of platforms, services & devices> Transparency for consumers re services & delivery> Use of spectrum should serve public benefit 4
  • 5. Current policy framework distinguishesbetween ‘content’ & ‘connection’ spectrum Major distinctions between: Communications spectrum • General policy for planning, allocation & management • Spectrum planned according to ‘highest value use’ • Spectrum, apparatus and ‘class licences operate • Regulate technical, service standards & service type • Content matters rarely regulated Broadcasting spectrum • Special rules for planning, allocation & management • Minister has power to designate and reserve spectrum • Spectrum planning includes socio-economic factors • Strong barriers to entry on some kinds of services • Licences closely link content and spectrum 5
  • 6. Professional content is increasinglycarried on ‘connection’ spectrum Australian internet video and video communications traffic forecast, 2010 - 2015 6
  • 7. No longer fair or effective to regulatecontent by regulating ‘content spectrum’ 7
  • 8. Australian Communications and MediaAuthority identified 55 ‘broken concepts’Including current content regulations regarding:> Diversity of media ownership> Reflecting Australian identity> Broadcasting spectrum planning & licensing> Applying program standards and codes> Co-and self regulatory structures> Defining broadcast services and ‘programs’ ... and many others 8
  • 9. Review broadly embraces a ‘layers’approach for a regulatory framework 9
  • 10. What needs to be regulated?> Abolish content licenses – Follows principle of freedom to communicate – Licences for scarce spectrum not content services – Significantly reduces the volume of regulation> Ownership & competition rules> Content standards – Content classification obligation & codes – Protection from harm laws and codes – Fairness, accuracy & ethical behaviour in journalism> Australian and local content rules 10
  • 11. Who should be regulated?Community has different expectations for‘professional’ versus other content/providers on anyplatform:“Content produced by a traditional media organisation – whether forprint or broadcast, and whether offline or online – was seen asprofessional content, produced for broad audiences. ”“Consumers appeared to bring their expectations of regulation from traditional media they were familiar with, to similar content accessed online… Whether it was broadcast or online, professional content was expected by most consumers to meet community standards ...”“News stories from traditional, reputable news organisations wereexpected to meet the same journalistic standards for accuracy andfairness, for example, whether in print, broadcast or online.” ACMA, Digital Australians Report, October 2011, p.6 11
  • 12. Content Services Enterprises concept is central to the Review’s approach> CSEs are customer-facing controllers of professional content above a (fairly high) threshold of revenue/users> CSEs are providers of content to Australians; generate substantial local revenues; have an Australian presence> CSE status irrespective of platform, whether providing linear or non linear services in text or audiovisual formats Content obligations are placed on enterprises andtheir services not on platform or spectrum use 12
  • 13. Should be a common policy approach tobroadcast & non-broadcast spectrum > Market-based approach for use of spectrum > Greater transparency when spectrum used for public purposes > Spectrum planning to explicitly consider public interest factors incl. social and cultural objectives > Minister to retain power to reserve spectrum to achieve key public policy objectives > Certainty for spectrum licence holders about licence renewal processes 13
  • 14. Commercial broadcasting licenseesshould transition to spectrum licences> Existing service and apparatus licences abolished> Spectrum licence fee based on value of spectrum planned for broadcast use> Commercial broadcasters should have the ability to trade spare capacity in their licensed spectrum> Capacity on the planned 6th digital TV multiplex should be allocated to new services that will increase diversity, and accommodate community TV> Encourage government to extend digital radio fully 14
  • 15. A three stage implementation of theReview’s report is recommended1. Transitional changes to existing legislation that can be achieved in the short term2. New legislation regulating content services enterprises, creating a new arms-length regulator and repealing the current Broadcasting Services Act3. Broader reform for all communications legislation to provide a thoroughly converged, technology neutral framework15