Five Year Spectrum Outlook


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Now in its third edition, the Outlook sets out the ACMA's annual assessment of existing and future demand for spectrum and its work plan for managing spectrum on behalf of Australians from 2011 to 2015.

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Five Year Spectrum Outlook

  1. 1. Five-year spectrum outlook2011–2015The ACMA’s spectrum demandanalysis and indicative workprograms for the next five yearsMARCH 2011communicating | facilitating | regulating
  2. 2. Canberra Melbourne SydneyPurple Building Level 44 Level 15 Tower 1Benjamin Offices Melbourne Central Tower Darling ParkChan Street 360 Elizabeth Street 201 Sussex StreetBelconnen ACT Melbourne VIC Sydney NSWPO Box 78 PO Box 13112 PO Box Q500Belconnen ACT 2616 Law Courts Queen Victoria Building Melbourne VIC 8010 Sydney NSW 1230T +61 2 6219 5555F +61 2 6219 5353 T +61 3 9963 6800 T +61 2 9334 7700 F +61 3 9963 6899 1800 226 667 TTY 03 9963 6948 F +61 2 9334 7799© Commonwealth of Australia 2011This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproducedby any process without prior written permission from the Commonwealth. Requests and enquiries concerning reproductionand rights should be addressed to the Manager, Editorial Services, Australian Communications and Media Authority,PO Box 13112 Law Courts, Melbourne Vic 8010.Published by the Australian Communications and Media Authority
  3. 3. Five-year spectrum outlook2011–2015The ACMA’s spectrum demandanalysis and indicative workprograms for the next five yearsMARCH 2011
  4. 4. ForewordWelcome to the 2011 edition of the Australian Communications and Media Authority’sFive-year spectrum outlook. The Outlook is our near to medium-term plan for the futurespectrum management work that we intend doing for the benefit of all Australians.This Outlook cycle includes some important new work including planning for smartinfrastructure and mobile broadband, and detailed assessment of related spectrumrequirements. The ACMA is acting now to plan for these new technologies because oftheir potential to significantly enhance the lives of Australians.I am also pleased to present, through the Outlook, a summary of the key spectrum workthat the ACMA completed in 2010. This comprised both forward planning for spectrumallocations for a range of communications services, as well as work to support criticalgovernment communications policy. The reviews of the 2.5 GHz, 3.6 GHz and 400 MHzbands deserve special mention. All three reviews entered implementation phases in late2010. Our crucial work in 2010 also included activity to support the government with thedigital switchover and to realise the digital dividend.As the Outlook shows, the varied spectrum work undertaken in the past year is clearevidence of the ACMA’s ongoing commitment to creating and supporting efficient,effective and appropriate regulation for spectrum management.The demand analysis provided in this Outlook is built on a range of information gatheredby the ACMA throughout the year, including its consultation on proposed approaches tospecific spectrum issues, our Spectrum Tune-ups and the annual RadCommsconference.I commend the Outlook to you as an important part of the ACMA’s ongoing engagementwith industry and government users of spectrum about their needs and our assessment oftechnological developments in the fast-moving communications environment. Yourcomments are most welcome as they really do help to inform the ACMA’s importantspectrum management work.Chris ChapmanChairman
  5. 5. AcknowledgementsIn developing this edition of the Outlook, the ACMA gratefully acknowledges the inputprovided by the following individuals, organisations, government agencies and their staff: Alan Hughes NSW Independent Transport Safety AsiaSpace and Reliability Regulator Asciano Ltd (Pacific National) NSW Police AUSTAR Entertainment Pty Ltd Northern Territory Police, Fire and Australasian Railway Association Emergency Services Australian Rail Track Corporation Optus Australian Broadcasting Corporation Ovum Pty Ltd Australian Crime Commission Project Outcomes Pty Ltd Australian Maritime Safety Authority Queensland Rail Network Australian Mobile Qualcomm Telecommunications Association RailCorp NSW Australian National University Reach Networks Australia Pty Ltd Australian Radio Communications RF Industries Pty Ltd Industry Association Security Services Spectrum Australian Telecommunications Committee of Western Australia Users Group Limited Sky Station Australia Australian Wireless Audio Group Stratos Global Bureau of Meteorology Tait Radio Communications Commercial Radio Australia Telstra Corporation Limited Commonwealth Scientific and Unwired Australia Industrial Research Organisation Victoria Police Community Broadcasting Association Victorian Government Radio of Australia Spectrum Task Force Consultel IT&T Pty Ltd Vodafone Hutchison Australia Corruption and Crime Commission of WiMAX Forum Western Australia Department of Defence Department of Emergency Services (Queensland Government) Energy Networks Australia Ericsson Australia Pty Ltd Free TV Australia Foxtel Management Pty Ltd Geoscience Australia GHD Pty Ltd Gibson Quai-AAS Pty Ltd Global VSAT Forum Google Australia Grant and Jenny Spong Horizon Broadband Communications Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and local government agencies (including Airservices Australia, Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Office of Transport Security) Inmarsat Intel Intelsat Asia Carrier Service Law Enforcement Security Radio Spectrum Committee Motorola Australia Pty Ltd National Coordinating Committee for Government Radiocommunications NSW Government
  6. 6. Foreword1. Introduction1.1 Purpose1.2 Methodology1.2.1 Evidence-based approach1.3 Scope and structure1.4 Consultation1.4.1 Publication of submissions1.4.2 Release of information in submissions1.4.3 Information-sharing2. Spectrum management decision-making framework2.1 The international spectrum planning framework2.2 Legislation for Australian spectrum management2.3 The Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan2.4 Planning instruments made by the ACMA2.4.1 Band plans2.4.2 Radiocommunications Assignment and Licensing Instructions2.4.3 Spectrum embargoes2.4.4 Radiocommunications standards2.5 Principles for spectrum management2.6 Total welfare standard2.7 Decision-making process3. Spectrum demand drivers3.1 Technological developments3.2 Changing use of mobile services3.3 International developments3.4 Technical and other characteristics of services4. Significant spectrum projects4.1 Projects commenced or progressed during 20104.1.1 Review of the 400 MHz band4.1.2 Support for government for digital switchover4.1.3 Digital restack4.1.4 Allocation of the digital divided4.1.5 Review outcomes for the 2.5 GHz band4.1.6 Expiring spectrum licences4.2 New projects4.2.1 Review of the 900 MHz band4.2.2 Service planning for smart infrastructure4.2.3 Earth station siting
  7. 7. 4.2.4 Service planning for mobile broadband4.2.5 Use of opportunity cost pricing5. Future spectrum needs5.1 Aeronautical mobile5.1.1 Current spectrum use5.1.2 2011–20155.1.3 The ACMA’s proposed approaches5.1.4 Beyond 20155.2 Broadcasting5.2.1 Current spectrum use5.2.2 2011–20155.2.3 The ACMA’s proposed approaches5.2.4 Beyond 20155.3 Fixed5.3.1 Current spectrum use5.3.2 2011–20155.3.3 The ACMA’s proposed approaches5.3.4 Beyond 20155.4 Land mobile5.4.1 Current spectrum use5.4.2 2011–20155.4.3 The ACMA’s proposed approaches5.4.4 Beyond 20155.5 Maritime5.5.1 Current spectrum use5.5.2 2011–20155.5.3 The ACMA’s proposed approaches5.5.4 Beyond 20155.6 Radiodetermination5.6.1 Current spectrum use5.6.2 2011–20155.6.3 The ACMA’s proposed approaches5.6.4 Beyond 20155.7 Satellite5.7.1 Current spectrum use5.7.2 2011–20155.7.3 The ACMA’s proposed approaches5.7.4 Beyond 20155.8 Science services5.8.1 Current spectrum use5.8.2 2011–20155.8.3 The ACMA’s proposed approaches5.8.4 Beyond 2015
  8. 8. 5.9 Wireless access services5.9.1 Current spectrum use5.9.2 2011–20155.9.3 The ACMA’s proposed approaches5.9.4 Beyond 20155.10 Emerging technologies5.10.1 Dynamic spectrum access technologies5.10.2 Ultra wideband5.10.3 Smart infrastructure5.10.4 High altitude technologies5.10.5 Home network5.10.6 Future television broadcasting standards6. Indicative work programs6.1 Developing the work programs6.2 How the work programs relate to each other6.3 Setting work programs in a dynamic policy environment6.4 Consultation for spectrum management changesAppendix A: Table of frequency bandsAppendix B: Acronyms and abbreviations
  9. 9. 1. IntroductionThe Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) is an independentstatutory authority within the Australian Governments communications portfolio thatreports to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. TheACMA manages the radiofrequency spectrum in accordance with theRadiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act).The ACMA aims to support the efficient, effective and appropriate operation of theAustralian spectrum management regulatory regime. The Five-year spectrum outlook2011–2015 (the Outlook) is an important tool that assists the ACMA to realise thisgoal. It was initially launched by the ACMA in 2009 to provide greater insight andtransparency for industry and government spectrum users about the pressures onspectrum and the direction of the ACMA’s spectrum management work in the short,medium and long term. Since that time, the ACMA has been open to ongoingfeedback and this third edition incorporates views provided by spectrum users aboutthe ACMA’s Outlook for 2010–2014. The Outlook is part of the ACMA’s overallconsultation framework for spectrum planning and decision-making, together withtargeted consultation on specific spectrum issues through its annual RadCommsconference, Spectrum Tune-ups and discussion papers. Through these mechanisms,the ACMA is working actively to discuss emerging pressures for change to spectrumaccess arrangements with stakeholders. This partnership approach is critical inmanaging the scarce radiofrequency resource.The challenge in managing the radiofrequency spectrum stems from its scarcity,coupled with the continual evolution and increasing sophistication of wirelesstechnologies and the rapidly growing and competing demand for spectrum fromdifferent users and services. Part of the ACMA’s task is to balance the needs ofexisting spectrum users with facilitation of spectrum access for new technologies.The Outlook demonstrates that the ACMA’s spectrum management work is informedby a wide range of evidence, which is continually refreshed and includes informationprovided by spectrum users about their spectrum needs.1.1 PurposeThis Outlook provides demand analysis and work plans to illustrate the direction of theACMA’s spectrum management work in the short, medium and long term. Its purposeis to provide an avenue for meaningful discussions with stakeholders about emergingpressures for radiofrequency spectrum. It is a ‘living’ document and is always open tocomment and feedback from stakeholders.The content of this Outlook, particularly the indicative work programs, will be updatedannually in response to changing priorities and demands. This Outlook is not intendedto be a substitute for separate and targeted industry consultation on specific spectrummanagement issues. For this reason, any observations on proposed approaches orsolutions to emerging problems may only represent the ACMA’s preliminary thinking.The indicative work programs provided in this Outlook do not reflect all the work theACMA undertakes concerning radiocommunications issues. Items in the workprograms predominantly relate to issues that may have a significant impact onspectrum demand or spectrum management over the next five years. The ACMAengages in a range of other work relating to radiocommunications, such as changes tothe licensing and allocation frameworks, to reflect incremental changes to the servicesavailable within the current bands.
  10. 10. Indicative work priorities are flexible and may change between editions of the Outlook.New issues can arise at any time, which may require urgent attention from the ACMAand may take precedence over work specified in the Outlook.Comments on this Outlook will assist the ACMA in making decisions about thepossible future planning, licensing, pricing and allocation arrangements for theradiofrequency spectrum. However, nothing in this Outlook should be taken to bind theACMA or the government to any particular course of action in the future.1.2 MethodologyAn important phase in the development of the first Outlook, and continued in this 2011edition, was the estimation of spectrum requirements for radiocommunicationsservices in Australia over the next five, 10 and 15 years. To assist in this work, theACMA engaged several consultants in 2007 to research and gather information oncurrent and future predicted spectrum requirements. The consultants researchedAustralian and overseas demand studies and undertook an analysis of Australiantrends. Stakeholders also provided the consultants with valuable information abouttheir estimated future spectrum requirements. The information from theseconsultancies, along with the ACMA’s own detailed examination of domestic andinternational trends in spectrum use, formed the basis for identification of the likelyfuture pressure points on spectrum. The ACMA then formed its initial thoughts on howspectrum demands might be addressed.While there is an inherent degree of uncertainty in predicting spectrum requirementsover the next five years, consideration in advance of the likely pressure points onspectrum is valuable for two reasons. Firstly, it should ensure the ACMA’s workpriorities are closely linked to actual emerging demand pressures. Secondly, it shouldprovide a greater degree of industry certainty about the ACMA’s priorities and promotedialogue with spectrum users about these priorities. Annual updates keep the plancurrent and also reflect the reality that predictions are uncertain.1.2.1 Evidence-based approachIn considering whether issues should be included in the Outlook, the ACMA takes acomprehensive approach that is based on the best available evidence. As anevidence-informed communications regulator, the ACMA has an extensive researchand reporting program aimed at understanding and identifying the current andpotential uses of radiofrequency spectrum. The ACMA’s ongoing research programcontinually examines the communications and media markets, exploring changes intechnology, market development and community perceptions. Figure 1.1 depicts howthe ACMA uses this evidence to inform its work plans for spectrum management.
  11. 11. Figure 1.1 How evidence informs the Five-year Spectrum Outlook
  12. 12. 1.3 Scope and structureThis Outlook considers the range of the radiofrequency spectrum from about 500 kHzto 80 GHz, although the spectrum between 400 MHz and 6 GHz is generally wheremost of the competing demand exists.Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the Outlook, outlining the purpose and scope ofthe document, the methodology by which it was created and updated, and details onthe consultation process for parties interested in making submissions.Chapter 2 contains an overview of the ACMA’s spectrum management decision-making framework. It outlines the legislative basis for spectrum management inAustralia, the principles that articulate the ACMA’s approach to managing andplanning the spectrum, and the information-gathering and work-planning processesthat the ACMA uses to manage the spectrum.Chapter 3 identifies the principal underlying drivers of spectrum demand, whichinclude international developments, technological change and use of new services.Chapter 4 outlines some of the key spectrum management projects that the ACMAwill undertake over the next five years. This includes work that will be undertaken toreview the tools used to manage the spectrum and wide-ranging projects that mayaffect a number of bands and a wide group of stakeholders, such as: considering government spectrum use and the availability of spectrum to the broader community the management of expiring spectrum licences upcoming spectrum auctions in the 2.5 GHz and 700 MHz bands.Chapter 5 contains an analysis and estimation of spectrum requirements of thefollowing radiocommunications services over the next five years: Aeronautical—includes the aeronautical mobile service, but excludes the aeronautical mobile-satellite service and the aeronautical radionavigation service. Broadcasting—includes all terrestrial television and radio broadcasting services. Fixed—includes all fixed point-to-point (P-P) systems, except for fixed wireless access systems that are included under the wireless access services sub-section (see below). Land mobile—includes ‘traditional’ government and non-government land mobile services. Maritime—includes the maritime mobile service, but excludes the maritime mobile- satellite service and the maritime radionavigation service. Radiodetermination—includes the radiolocation, radionavigation and radionavigation-satellite services. Satellite—includes the fixed-satellite, mobile-satellite and broadcasting-satellite services. Space sciences—includes the radio astronomy service, earth exploration-satellite service, space research service, space operations service, meteorological aids service and meteorological-satellite service. Wireless access—includes fixed wireless access (FWA), broadband wireless access (BWA), radio local area networks and mobile telephony services. Mobile television is also included, as the method of delivery of this emerging application is more closely linked to BWA than any other service. Emerging technologies—includes analysis of dynamic spectrum access technologies, such as software-defined radio and cognitive radio systems. Ultra
  13. 13. wideband (UWB), smart infrastructure and high-altitude technologies. Home networks and future television broadcast standards, including recent trials of 3D television broadcasts.For each service, there is also a brief discussion about the spectrum requirements thatmay arise beyond 2015.Chapter 6 contains the ACMA’s indicative spectrum management work programs forthe next five years. The first work program contains the ACMA’s spectrummanagement projects and tasks categorised into relevant frequency bands or portionsof the spectrum. It is based on the assessment of future spectrum requirementsundertaken in Chapter 5 and includes current spectrum management projects. Thesecond work program, the Outlook program, lists emerging spectrum issues that theACMA is monitoring which may require active work in the next five years. A final tablesets out planned work on a band-by-band basis.Appendix A lists frequency bands and frequency ranges for easy reference.Appendix B is a detailed list of the acronyms and abbreviations contained in thisOutlook.Appendix C is the frequency audit table, which describes allocations and licensing ofradiofrequency spectrum in Australia. It is provided in a separate document to theOutlook and can be located on the ACMA’s wesbite. It is current as at 1 December2010 and is provided for information only. The table also includes a number of bandsformerly associated with the Australian footnote AUS62, as found in the AustralianRadiofrequency Spectrum Plan for the 43.5–47 GHz band, which identifies bands thatmay be used in the future for the purposes of defence. In the frequency audit table,these bands are now identified by the footnote F2.1.4 ConsultationThe ACMA released the Five-year spectrum outlook 2010–2014 on 31 March 2010and invited the radiocommunications community to consider and make submissions tothe 2011–2015 edition. Submissions closed on 31 August 2010. The 17 submissionsreceived by the ACMA have assisted in identifying stakeholders’ priorities and viewson future projects outlined in this Outlook. Submissions received during theconsultation period for this edition of the Outlook, which will conclude in the secondhalf of 2011, will be incorporated into the 2012 edition. Written comments or queriesabout this edition of the Outlook may be forwarded at any time to:ManagerSpectrum Outlook and Review SectionInfrastructure Regulation BranchAustralian Communications and Media AuthorityPO Box 78Belconnen ACT 2616Fax: (02) 6219 5353Email: Publication of submissionsIn general, the ACMA publishes all submissions it receives. However, the ACMA willnot publish submissions that it considers contain defamatory or irrelevant material. TheACMA prefers to receive submissions that are not claimed to be confidential. However,the ACMA accepts that a submitter may sometimes wish to provide information inconfidence. In these circumstances, submitters are asked to identify the material overwhich confidentiality is claimed and provide a written explanation for confidentiality
  14. 14. claims. The ACMA will not automatically accept all claims of confidentiality. The ACMAwill consider each claim for confidentiality on a case-by-case basis. If the ACMAaccepts a confidentiality claim, it will not publish the confidential information unlessrequired to do so by law.1.4.2 Release of information in submissionsSubmissions provided to the ACMA may be required to be released under theFreedom of Information Act 1982. The ACMA may also be required to releasesubmissions for other reasons including for the purpose of parliamentary processes orwhere otherwise required by law, for example, a court subpoena. While the ACMAseeks to consult, and where required by law will consult, with submitters of confidentialinformation before that information is provided to another body or agency, the ACMAcannot guarantee that confidential information will not be released through these orother legal means.1.4.3 Information-sharingUnder the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005, the ACMA maydisclose certain information to the minister, the Department of Broadband,Communications and the Digital Economy, including authorised officials, RoyalCommissions, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, certain Commonwealthauthorities such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission andAustralian Securities and Investments Commission and the authority of a foreigncountry responsible for regulating matters relating to communications or media.The ACMA is working to enhance the effectiveness of its stakeholder consultationprocesses, which are an important source of evidence for its regulatory developmentactivities. To assist stakeholders in formulating submissions to its formal, writtenconsultation processes, it has developed the following guide: Effective consultation: Aguide to making a submission. This guide provides information about the ACMA’sformal, written, public consultation processes and practical guidance on how to make asubmission.
  15. 15. 2. Spectrum managementdecision-making frameworkThis Chapter contains an overview of the ACMA’s spectrum management decision-makingframework. It outlines the legislative basis for spectrum management in Australia, the principles thatarticulate the ACMA’s approach to managing and planning the spectrum and the information-gathering and work-planning processes that the ACMA uses to manage the spectrum.2.1 The international spectrum planning frameworkIn most countries, including Australia, spectrum planning starts at the internationallevel through participation in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). TheITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communicationstechnology issues and is the global focal point for governments and the private sectorfor the development and regulation of networks and services. ITU radiofrequencyspectrum planning decisions may need to be incorporated by the ACMA intoAustralian spectrum arrangements.The Radiocommunication Sector of the ITU (ITU-R) exists to ensure rational,equitable, efficient and economical use of the radiofrequency spectrum by allradiocommunications services (including those using satellite orbits) and to carry outstudies and approve recommendations on radiocommunications matters. The ITU-Ralso maintains the international Radio Regulations, which set out the allocations ofbands to various types of services. There are currently six ITU-R study groups andseveral working parties under each of these study groups assigned to considerspecific technical issues as well as develop and maintain ITU-R recommendations andreports.Australia is a signatory to the ITU Convention, which is a treaty-level legal instrumentthat obliges Australia to comply with the Radio Regulations. In essence, Australianradiocommunications services must not cause interference to the services of othercountries where those services operate in accordance with the Radio Regulations.Conversely, Australian services are entitled to protection against interference fromother countries.In addition to the ITU, there are numerous organisations that seek to achieveregionally harmonised views on various spectrum planning issues, including thoserelevant to the ITU-R. Examples of these organisations include: the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT), the Asia-Pacific representative body in the ITU the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT).In 2012, the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) will be held by the ITU-Rin Geneva, Switzerland. The ACMA is assisting the Australian Government to developpositions about proposed resolutions for this international conference. WRC-12outcomes may include spectrum allocation decisions that the ACMA will be required toimplement nationally, including through possible updates to the AustralianRadiofrequency Spectrum Plan. Harmonised regional APT common proposals onWRC agenda items can significantly influence deliberations at WRCs. In each sectionof Chapter 5, WRC-12 agenda items that may influence the ACMA’s spectrum
  16. 16. management decision-making have been cited. Necessary implementation activity bythe ACMA for WRC-12 decisions will not occur until after February 2012.2.2 Legislation for Australian spectrum managementThe ACMA manages the radiofrequency spectrum on behalf of the AustralianGovernment under the Radiocommunications Act 1992.The Act sets out the objectives the ACMA must follow in undertaking this task as wellas the tools that are available to it, including frequency planning, licensing, makingstandards and overseeing compliance with licence conditions to avoid interferencewith other spectrum users.The object of the Act is to provide for management of the radiofrequency spectrum inorder to: maximise, by ensuring the efficient allocation and use of the spectrum, the overall public benefit derived from using the radiofrequency spectrum make adequate provision of the spectrum: for use by agencies involved in the defence or national security of Australia, law enforcement or the provision of emergency services for use by other public or community services provide a responsive and flexible approach to meeting the needs of users of the spectrum encourage the use of efficient radiocommunication technologies so that a wide range of services of an adequate quality can be provided provide an efficient, equitable and transparent system of charging for the use of spectrum, taking account of the value of both commercial and non-commercial use of spectrum support the communications policy objectives of the Australian Government; provide a regulatory environment that maximises opportunities for the Australian communications industry in domestic and international markets promote Australia’s interests concerning international agreements, treaties and conventions relating to radiocommunications or the radiofrequency spectrum.The ACMA’s functions are also defined by the Australian Communications and MediaAuthority Act 2005.2.3 The Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum PlanThe Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan (ARSP), a legislative instrumentadministered by the ACMA, is the highest-level spectrum planning document inAustralia. It divides the Australian radiofrequency spectrum into a number of frequencybands and specifies the general purpose for which each band may be used. Thisprocess is referred to as the allocation of frequency bands to radiocommunicationservices. As well as specifying the first level of spectrum allocation, a degree ofinterference avoidance is built into the service allocation relationships and associatedregulations.The ARSP is drawn from, and kept current with, Article 5 of the ITU RadioRegulations, which is revised every few years at the WRC. It is designed 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
  17. 17. reflect Australias obligations as a member of the ITU provide details of international frequency allocations agreed by the ITU for the three world regions.2.4 Planning instruments made by the ACMA2.4.1 Band plansBand plans provide detailed instructions on the use of specific parts of the spectrum.There are two types of band plans: frequency band plans, which are legislative instruments made under section 32(3) of the Act and which must not be inconsistent with the ARSP administrative band plans, which are non-statutory.Frequency band plans specify the purposes for which bands may be used and theseare summarised in Table 2.1.Table 2.1 Frequency band plans Frequency band First made VHF Mid Band Frequency Band Plan (70–87.5 MHz) 1991 VHF High Band Frequency Band Plan (148–174 MHz) 1991 900 MHz Band Plan (820–960 MHz) 1992 1.5 GHz Band Plan (1427–1535 MHz) 1996 1.9 GHz Band Plan (1880–1900 MHz) 1996 Mobile-Satellite Service (2 GHz) Frequency Band Plan 2002 2002 2.1 GHz Band Frequency Band Plan 2002 2002 1900–1920 and 2010–2025 MHz Bands Frequency Band Plan 2004Administrative band plans serve a similar purpose to frequency band plans, butwithout the latters statutory obligations. They provide a policy basis for band usage. Atpresent, the only administrative band plan in force is for the 400 MHz band (403–420MHz and 450–520 MHz).2.4.2 Radiocommunications Assignment and Licensing InstructionsRadiocommunications Assignment and Licensing Instructions (RALIs) are policyinstruments that provide detailed guidance on specific spectrum access arrangements,such as permitted frequency channelisation and antenna performance characteristics.RALIs are subject to periodic review and are amended as the ACMA considersnecessary. At present, there are 16 RALIs containing intra-service and inter-servicefrequency assignment requirements.12.4.3 Spectrum embargoesThe ACMA places spectrum embargoes on identified parts of the radiofrequencyspectrum from time to time to provide notice of its intention to restrict the allocation ofnew licences in a band, pending its replanning. Embargoes also alert industry to thestart of a planning process and 127are used in conjunction with other administrative1 See
  18. 18. and planning tools. An embargo includes details of the frequency band, date of effect,coverage area, timeframe, instructions and reasons for the embargo.The ACMA applies embargoes at the start of planning or replanning to ensure that thestatus of a band remains stable for the duration of the process. Replanning usuallyresults in a change in use or a change in the combination of uses of a band.Embargoes are also necessary to minimise the dislocation of affected services thatmay otherwise occur and to allow for future developments in a band. The ACMAplaces a notice about the creation of a new embargo and a link to its contents on itswebsite.The ACMA considers applications for frequency assignments in embargoed bands ona case-by-case basis. Exceptions may be made to an embargo where there issufficient justification. RALI MS03: Spectrum Embargoes provides the administrativepolicy basis for spectrum embargoes and contains a list of all current and withdrawnembargoes. At present, there are 30 active embargoes.22.4.4 Radiocommunications standardsThe ACMA develops radiocommunications standards to ensure compatibility or to limitemissions from transmitters. To do this, the ACMA requires manufacturers andimporters of radiocommunications products and their authorised agents to comply withits supplier-based labelling scheme. The scheme aims to ensure thatradiocommunications products meet relevant ACMA mandatory standards beforethese products are placed on the Australian market.After consideration of the voluntary industry standards, the ACMA makes mandatorystandards under section 162 of the Act. The ACMA’s mandatory standards adopt theappropriate voluntary industry standard often with variations that are listed in themandatory standard. The scheme has separate levels of compliance and is based ona declaration process. The manufacturer, importer or authorised agent (supplier) mustalso affix a compliance label to their product and hold documents supporting claims ofcompliance with the standards.2.5 Principles for spectrum managementAs an industry regulator, the ACMA is required to make decisions in accordance withthe public interest objectives set out in legislation. While the Act requires the ACMA tomaximise the overall public benefit derived from the use of spectrum, it does notprescribe the test that the ACMA should apply to measure this public benefit.In 2009, the ACMA released its Principles for spectrum management to clarify theapproach it will take when exercising regulatory discretion within the scope of the Actto make decisions about spectrum management. The principles provide scope for theACMA to manage spectrum through a balanced application of both regulatory andmarket mechanisms. The principles have been informed by best practice regulationguidance provided by the Department of Finance and Deregulation’s Office of BestPractice Regulation. In summary, the principles are as follows:1. Allocate spectrum to the highest value use or uses.2. Enable and encourage spectrum to move to its highest value use of uses.3. Use the least cost and least restrictive approach to achieving policy objectives.4. To the extent possible, promote both certainty and flexibility.5. Balance the cost of interference and the benefits of greater spectrum utilisation.2 See
  19. 19. 2.6 Total welfare standardIn 2007, the ACMA adopted a total welfare standard for use when: the policy and legislative framework provides the ACMA with discretion about the tests it might apply a regulatory intervention might have a significant economic impact on consumers, producers or other stakeholders.In these circumstances, the impact on total welfare is one important factor that theACMA will take into account.The ACMA recognises that the assessment of costs and benefits using a total welfarestandard will often need to take into account both quantitative and qualitative factors.When the TWS is applied, all significant benefits and costs are taken into account andgiven the same weight, irrespective of the identity of the recipient.2.7 Decision-making processThe ACMA makes a range of decisions and develops instruments to manage theradiofrequency spectrum. Decisions made by the Authority produce spectrummanagement outcomes in the form of allocations, pricing, licensing frameworks andlicence conditions. The diagram at Figure 2.1 illustrates the basis for and processbehind these decisions. As indicated by the arrows encircling this diagram, spectrummanagement outcomes affect the environment and the demand for and supply ofspectrum and so in this sense the process is iterative.Figure 2.1 The ACMA’s spectrum management decision-making framework
  20. 20. 3. Spectrum demand driversThis chapter identifies the principal underlying drivers of spectrum demand—technologicaldevelopments, changing use of mobile services, international developments and technical andother characteristics of services.As technology advances and new and innovative uses emerge, the demand foraccess to radiofrequency spectrum increases. This demand results in requests foraccess to spectrum or to increased amounts of spectrum or congestion relief in highlyused bands. It is characterised by a diverse range of uses as well as competing claimsfor parts of the spectrum in a rapidly evolving environment. Effective, efficient andappropriate spectrum management is underpinned by the ACMA’s awareness ofspectrum demand.Because spectrum management decisions are complex and involve manyinterdependencies, the starting point for the ACMA in making such decisions is currentspectrum use. For example, decisions about services to be used in a given band arelikely to have an impact on existing users of this or other bands.The context within which the ACMA manages spectrum is rapidly evolving: presentinga challenge for providing regulatory certainty in spectrum planning arrangements whileenabling the development and launch of new and innovative spectrum uses. TheACMA leverages off its understanding of this dynamic environment to make efficient,effective and transparent decisions about spectrum management to provide regulatorycertainty and flexibility. The second part of this chapter outlines developments that theACMA considers contribute to spectrum demand changes.In general terms, demand for spectrum in Australia is driven by technologydevelopments, increased use of mobile devices, international developments and thetechnical characteristics of a given spectrum use.3.1 Technological developmentsThe pace of change in technology and services is accelerating, producing continuingscientific innovation. While there is increasing demand to provide spectrum for anexpanding range of technologies and applications, there is also potential for greaterspectral efficiency. Greater spectral efficiency can be achieved through digitalisationand improvements in technology. It can also be achieved through increased use ofinterference mitigation techniques to facilitate spectrum re-use and through the use oftechnologies that enable more efficient spectrum sharing (see Chapter 5.10).Convergence in the communications environment: Very broadly speaking,convergence refers to the blurring of borders of previously distinct communicationsservices due to rapid technological and market developments. Traditional distinctionsbetween telecommunications, broadcasting and radiocommunications are becomingincreasingly invalid, as new technologies and services on the market cut across allsectors. These developments are illustrated by the growth of devices which arewireless and bandwidth dependent. The phenomenon is also a reflection of changingconsumer demands, as markets evolve to satisfy the need for anywhere, anytimeavailability and the convenience of accessing multiple services with one technologicalplatform.Mobility: The delivery of services by radio has several attractions in comparison toother delivery methods nominally providing anywhere, anytime access for nomadic
  21. 21. and mobile voice and broadband services. These favourable characteristics ofwireless access services (WAS) may be expected to fuel demand for these servicesand may be a particularly strong driver in metropolitan areas, despite the generallyadequate provision of wireline solutions. Other factors, such as the considerablegrowth in laptop ownership and the increasing requirement for mobility both in theworkforce and socially, may also drive the demand for spectrum for WAS.Sensing and monitoring: Small-scale applications are generally used to automatetime-consuming and resource-intensive processes, such as remote monitoring ofweather information. These applications include condition and environmental sensingand radiofrequency identification (RFID) systems.3 Larger-scale applications are morefocussed on providing additional functionality, such as sensing and imaging formeteorological, space research and military purposes. These applications are oftencharacterised by large bandwidth requirements.Automation of daily activities: Automation involves communications betweenelectronic devices with very limited, if any, human intervention. Automatedtemperature control, remote control of household appliances and automobilemonitoring systems are some examples of such ubiquitous, automatically networkedand interconnected devices.Remote control: Closely related to the automation of processes is the remote controlof devices and instruments that in many cases reduce the use of human resourcesand can remove human presence from dangerous situations and inhospitableenvironments. One of the most significant examples of this is the unmanned aerialvehicle (UAV). Smaller- scale applications, such as garage door openers and radio-controlled toys, have also become part of everyday life.Navigation and traffic control: Smaller-scale applications include civilian globalpositioning systems (GPS) and navigation and automotive radars for intelligent cruisecontrol systems.4 Larger-scale applications for navigation and surveillance of aircraftand ships include ground-based, airborne and shipborne radars, automatic dependentsurveillance broadcast (ADSB) and GPS augmentation systems, including capabilityfor landing guidance.Networking: The removal of wires from buildings facilitates network maintenance andprovides flexible network arrangements. The most common example of this is the useof Wi-Fi in the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz bands. Future, ubiquitous use is expected toemploy ultra wideband (UWB) technology. Networking also plays a major part in theautomation of processes using sensing and control (see above).3.2 Changing use of mobile servicesGrowing data exchange and increased affordability of mobile broadband:Revenue from data traffic is starting to outpace revenue generated by voice traffic.Transmission and reception of data relies on a higher amount of bandwidth thantraditional voice applications. For example, a major growth area in data traffic is insocial networking sites, which accounts for 32 per cent of smartphone activity.53 RFID systems have a variety of applications. A typical used is in the tracking of stock in retail supplychains. By attaching tags to boxes and/or pallets of stock (or even individual items), and linking the tagreaders to a central computer database, stock can be easily followed as it travels from manufacturer towarehouse to retailer by scanning the item and updating the database each time it is moved to a newlocation. RFID tags are most visible in use as anti-theft systems installed in supermarkets and shoppingcentres. Global Positioning System, a US satellite positioning system. ‘Smartphone social networking surges’, Adweek, 24 September 2009, available
  22. 22. Smartphones and smart devices are a major driver in mobile data traffic and generateapproximately ten times the amount of traffic compared to a non-smartphone user.Demand for increased data rates in turn produces demand for increased bandwidthand increased spectrum occupancy. Demand for spectrum is influenced by growingaffordability of mobile broadband, combined with the consumer trend of increased datatransmission and or higher bandwidth applications.Demand for data is also being driven by data cards, USB dongles and machine-to-machine applications (M2M). M2M is still a new revenue stream and is expected togrow rapidly with the availability of embedded devices, such as smart meters, mobileconnected vehicles and healthcare devices.Use of mobile broadband: Excluding mobile handset internet subscribers, the ABSreports that the number of mobile wireless broadband subscribers—accessing awireless broadband service via a dongle or data card—accounted for 36 per cent of allinternet subscribers in Australia at June 2010, compared with 24 per cent at June2009. On the basis of ABS data (Table 3.1), the number of mobile wireless broadbandsubscribers in Australia increased by 22 per cent from December 2009 to June 2010,while the number of fixed-broadband subscribers remained relatively constant over thesame period.Table 3.1 Broadband internet subscribers by technology type by quarter Broadband Dec Jun Dec Jun % change % change % change access 08 09 09 10 from Dec from Jun from Dec technology (‘000) (‘000) (‘000) (‘000) 08 to Jun 09 to Dec 09 to Jun 09 09 10 DSL 4,208 4,171 4,178 4,246 –0.9% 0.2% 1.6% Cable and 916 931 909 n/p 1.6% –2.4% n/p fibre Satellite 80 90 107 113 12.5% 18.9% 5.6% Mobile 1,369 2,024 2,838 3,455 47.8% 40.2% 21.7% wireless* Other 112 117 27 n/p 4.5% –77% n/p Total 6,685 7,333 8,059 8,768 9.7% 9.9% 8.8% broadband Total internet 7,996 8,420 8,951 9,569 5.3% 6.3% 6.9% subscribers*Includes data cards and dongles. Excludes mobile handset internet. Revisions: Dec 09 figures were revised by ABS in June 2010.Note: Fixed wireless not identified separately due to revision of estimates for June 2009 and December 2009.n/p: not published for specified quarter but included in total.Counts of subscribers published prior to release of the June 2010 quarter ABS report may vary from numbers published in the Junereport due to ABS revisions.Source: ABS, 8153.0–Internet Activity, Australia, June 2010.Ubiquity of broadband: Broadband is recognised as a key economic enabler. Forexample, it underpins the development of e-commerce and e-health and can providesignificant improvements in the delivery of education and government services.Broadband demand is also driven by the desire for people to have greater access toentertainment material.In some instances, delivery of fast and reliable broadband relies on the use ofterrestrial wireless technology, making access to broadband a strong driver forspectrum demand. In populated areas, ‘last-mile’ broadband services can be deliveredvia existing telephone line infrastructure or optical fibre to a large number of
  23. 23. customers.6 The area of service is limited by the performance of the telephone cable,which typically only allows for delivery up to a few kilometres from the exchange. Inrural and remote areas, lower population density and the costs of establishinginfrastructure, can make wireline last-mile delivery unviable. Terrestrial wirelesstechnology can avoid the high capital costs associated with the installation of fixedwireline and cable and it is potentially faster to deploy. It can serve much larger areasand hence requires far fewer exchanges. It also removes the need to establish specificconnections to each user. Satellites can cover much larger areas and therefore canalso be an important component of the delivery of broadband services.Choice of delivery model: Wireless technology can expand the options available toconsumers and the options available to network service providers seeking to deliverhigh data rate applications to customers. WAS may be attractive to large operators,who typically provide a wide range of services on a national or wide-area basis. It alsogives opportunities to smaller operators providing niche services to compete inlocalised markets. As a result, wireless technology may reduce the cost of servingsome areas and increase competition.Government demand for spectrum: Government accounts for a large portion ofspectrum use in Australia, with the Department of Defence the largest single user(government or non-government) in terms of bandwidth. Like commercial users of thespectrum, government requirements for spectrum are also growing, to both sustainexisting services and develop innovations. As a result, government users influencespectrum demand in general. Importantly, in some cases, government use of thespectrum is substantially different to the broader community, with a strong emphasison supporting remote-sensing applications, such as radar and passive earthobservations.7Under Australian legislative arrangements, there are particular bands, or serviceswithin these bands, which should be designated principally to fulfil public interestobjectives.8 The Radiocommunications Act 1992 requires the ACMA to makeadequate provision for use of the spectrum by government agencies involved in thedefence or national security of Australia, law enforcement or the provision ofemergency services. These agencies have indicated a need for sufficient capacity tomeet peak demand in major emergencies and adequate protection to maintain high-quality service, as well as increasing requirements for both interoperability and datacommunications. Other government organisations that have unique spectrumrequirements include railway authorities, utilities administrators and scientificorganisations.3.3 International developmentsHarmonisation with international standards is particularly important in Australia, giventhat it is a net technology importer, rather than a manufacturer. As such, deploymentsof new technology in other countries and jurisdictions influence spectrum demand inAustralia. The market in Australia for technology services and applications oftenfollows international deployments to take advantage of economies of scale and tofacilitate international roaming.6 The ‘last mile’ is the final link in delivering connectivity from a communications provider (at the localexchange or base station) to the end-user terminal. The term ‘last mile’ can be misleading, as in some caseswireless access can be provided up to 50 km from the base station.7 Passive services involve only the reception of electromagnetic radiation for their operation, as opposed toactive services which also include stations intended to transmit radiocommunication signals.8 Australian Footnotes AUS1 and AUS11 of the Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan. AUS1 and AUS9designate whole bands to be used principally for the purposes of defence, while AUS11 does the same for aparticular service within the noted band.
  24. 24. 3.4 Technical and other characteristics of servicesThe radiofrequency spectrum has different properties and characteristics dependingon the particular frequency band used. Certain parts of the spectrum are more suitedto a wider range of services resulting in an uneven distribution of demand.Consequently, the technical characteristics of a particular spectrum use influencesspectrum demand.There are four dimensions relating to the transmission of spectrum—frequency, time,geography and technical characteristics, such as polarisation or digital coding. Mostradiocommunications devices cannot coexist on all these dimensions, which affectsthe number of services that can be provided in a particular band and hence influencesspectrum demand.Frequency dependent propagation characteristics: These characteristics can drivedemand for particular parts of the spectrum. Lower frequencies generally propagatefurther, but higher frequencies allow higher bandwidths and higher data rates. Thepropagation characteristics of high-frequency (HF) spectrum allow over-the-horizoncommunications using ionospheric reflection.9 Very-high frequency (VHF) and ultra-high frequency (UHF) spectrum suit both long-range, line-of-sight (LOS)communications and mobile non-LOS applications by diffracting into valleys and oversome terrain.10,11 Microwave frequencies above 1 GHz suit fixed-LOS applications andsatellite communications. However, rain attenuation can be a problem for frequenciesabove about 10 GHz.Connectivity: Before last-mile delivery, there must be interconnection between theservice provider and local exchanges. In Australia, there are many areas where wiredinfrastructure is not a viable option for these links, due to difficulties with terrain andinfrastructure costs. Consequently, fixed links (mainly P-P) will continue to play animportant role in connectivity. Fixed links also play a vital role in communicationsdelivery for numerous spectrum users, including government networks, emergencyservices, utilities and mining operators. These links are also a back-haul enabler fornetworks including mobile telephony and satellite. As the spectrum requirements ofthese users and services grows, so too do the spectrum requirements for fixed links tosupport and complement them.9 HF is the range 3–30 MHz.10 VHF is the range 30–300 MHz.11 UHF is the frequency range 300–3000 MHz; however, the term is generally only used for frequenciesbelow 1000 MHz.
  25. 25. 4. Significant spectrum projectsThis chapter provides an overview of the significant and high-priority spectrum managementprojects that the ACMA completed or progressed during 2010, as well as projects that are to beinitiated or progressed in 2011. The projects detailed in this chapter may affect a number of bandsand are relevant to the way in which the ACMA approaches other spectrum management tasks andprojects, including those set out in Chapter 6.This chapter also outlines the overall progress of the ACMA’s spectrum management work plan andnew projects that have been developed to manage emerging spectrum demand. Figure 4.2summarises significant spectrum projects for 2011–2015, which are ordered by frequency band.4.1 Projects commenced or progressed during 20104.1.1 Review of the 400 MHz bandThe 403–520 MHz band (the 400 MHz band) is one of the most heavily used parts ofthe radiofrequency spectrum. It is used by industry to support a range of transport anddispatch activities and by government to deliver vital services to the public, includingemergency services such as police, fire and ambulance.A review of the 400 MHz band began in April 2008 with the release of the first in aseries of discussion papers Spectrum options: 403–520 MHz—Initial consultation onfuture arrangements for the 400 MHz band. The review is driven by evidence thatcongestion and fragmentation of use is having an adverse impact on the band.Additionally, there is a need to improve spectrum arrangements in this band for futuretechnologies and for government to promote interoperability.In March 2009, the ACMA released a second discussion paper Spectrum proposals:403–520 MHz—Proposals for future arrangements in the 400 MHz band. The paperoutlined the ACMA’s proposals for the future use of the band, including arrangementsto support government harmonisation and improved technical arrangements toaddress congestion in the band.The ACMA completed the review phase of this project in 2010 with the release of afinal discussion paper outlining its in-principle decisions for the future use of the band.The implementation phase will commence in 2011 following the release of the decisionpaper, The way ahead: Timeframes and implementation options for the 400 MHz bandin December 2010. The ACMA announced that it intends to implement the transitionplans put forward in the way ahead paper, with little modification, with the goal ofhaving the new arrangements in the 400 MHz band in place by 31 December 2015(i.e. roughly five years’ time) in high and medium density areas, and by 31 December2018 (i.e. roughly eight years’ time) outside of these areas. The implementation phaseis likely to affect thousands of users in the band and take a number of years tocomplete. The ACMA believes the implementation of the outcomes from the review willresult in delivery of improved efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility and will maximisethe public benefit arising for the use of the 400 MHz band.4.1.2 Support for government for digital switchoverThe Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has set atimetable for the switch-off of analog services, which involves a staged process acrossAustralia.12 This commenced with the switch-off of the analog signal in theMildura/Sunraysia area on 30 June 2010 and will conclude late in 2013. As digital12 Further information on the switchover timetable is available at
  26. 26. switchover continues throughout Australia, the ‘same coverage’ objective of theconversion schemes will ensure that the vast majority of viewers will continue toreceive terrestrial digital television services after analog transmissions close.134.1.3 Digital restackThe digital dividend refers to the radiofrequency spectrum that will be freed upfollowing the switch from analog to digital-only television. This switch, which isoccurring in countries across the world, will free up significant amounts of spectrumand open up opportunities for alternative uses such as new mobile services, additionalbroadcasting services and wireless broadband services. Existing services may alsobenefit from enhanced services or coverage.The digital dividend spectrum corresponds to UHF television channels 52–69. At mosttransmission sites, each broadcaster currently utilises two television channels, one forits analog signal and a second for its digital signal. Following the closure of analogtelevision services, the channels used to transmit those services will be vacant.However, digital services will remain in channels 52–69.The ACMA is working to maximise the potential for efficiency represented by digitalswitch off through a digital channel restack process. Restacking digital televisionservices by shifting them from the upper end of the UHF television band andconcentrating them in the spectrum below channel 52 will clear a contiguous block ofspectrum suitable for allocation and re-use.4.1.4 Allocation of the digital dividedThe contiguous block of spectrum freed up by the digital switchover and restackprocess will become available for new uses through a spectrum reallocation process.Reallocation comprises two parts:> configuration of the spectrum to determine the product for sale> allocation of the resulting spectrum products.The reallocation is expected to take place through an auction of spectrum licences inlate 2012, before completion of the digital switchover and restack processes.The ACMA released a discussion paper, Spectrum reallocation in the 700 MHz digitaldividend band, on 20 October 2010. The discussion paper set out the expectedprocess for the reallocation and invited submissions from stakeholders on a number ofissues affecting the reallocation process in its discussion paper, such as likely uses ofthe digital dividend, the importance of international harmonisation efforts, licenceconditions and timing issues.14 The public consultation period on the discussion paperclosed on 6 December 2010.The ACMA is also monitoring overseas digital dividend activity in order to develop anefficient and effective allocation process. Some other countries are further advanced indeveloping arrangements for using digital dividend spectrum. For example: The United States (US) auctioned its digital dividend spectrum in March 2008, with a contiguous block of 108 MHz in the 700 MHz band subdivided into blocks.13 Schedule 4 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 requires the ACMA to formulate schemes for theconversion, over time, of the transmission of television broadcasting services from analog to digital mode.The ACMA has made two schemes, the Commercial Television Conversion Scheme and the NationalTelevision Conversion Scheme, which commenced on 9 June 1999 and 2 February 2000 respectively. Oneobjective of these schemes is that the transmission of digital services should achieve the ‘same level ofcoverage and potential reception quality’ as is achieved by the transmission of that service in analog mode.14 The discussion paper can be accessed at
  27. 27. Germany auctioned its digital dividend (located in the 800 MHz band) in May 2010 together with spectrum blocks in the 800 MHz, 1.8 GHz, 2 GHz and 2.6 GHz bands.15 The United Kingdom (UK) has identified a total of 128 MHz of digital dividend spectrum in two separated blocks. This comprises the common European band of 72 MHz and a further 56 MHz lower in the UHF range. The UK digital dividend spectrum will be auctioned in the first half of 2012, together with the 2.6 GHz band.16Section 5.2 provides more information on issues relevant to broadcasting services.4.1.5 Review outcomes for the 2.5 GHz bandOn 21 October 2010, the ACMA announced that it would proceed with implementationof processes that will see part of the 2.5 GHz band re-planned to enable it to move toa new use, such as WAS, with part of the band being retained by the current licenseesfor ENG. In addition, a range of other bands will be made available for ENG servicesto ensure provision of service delivery equivalent to that currently provided. The newarrangements will see: re-allocation of 15-year spectrum licences in 2 x 70 MHz of paired spectrum in the frequency range 2500–2570 MHz and 2620–2690 MHz, at least in major metropolitan areas conversion of ENG apparatus licences to 15-year spectrum licences in the frequency range 2570–2620 MHz (‘the mid-band gap’ of the 2.5 GHz band) Australia-wide ENG access via apparatus licences to additional parts of the 2.5 GHz band in regional areas of known high use, as well as shared access with WAS in other areas, depending on demand for WAS ENG access to the following ‘alternative bands’: shared use of the bands 2025–2110 MHz and 2200–2300 MHz exclusive use of the band 2010–2025 MHz, at least in capital city areas ENG access to frequency bands 1980–2010 MHz and 2170–2200 MHz bands, with the caveat that mobile-satellite services may be introduced into these bands in the future, and the ACMA investigating the viability of long- term sharing between ENG and mobile-satellite services.The ACMA began considering re-allocation declaration issues in the 2.5 GHz band inNovember 2010. The ACMA expects to make a recommendation about a re-allocationdeclaration to the minister by mid 2011. The ACMA has also commenced consultationon the conversion process, and expects to make a recommendation to the ministerthat a section 36 designation notice is made by mid 2011.The ACMA has also commenced working with incumbent licensees in the identifiedalternative bands with a view to developing licensing, sharing and coordinationarrangements that balance the needs of those licensees with the requirements of ENGoperations.Section 5.9 provides more information on issues surrounding demand for spectrum forWAS.15 The European 2.6 GHz band is known as the 2.5 GHz band in Australia.16 Ed Richards, speech to FT World Telecoms Conference, 16 November 2010,
  28. 28. 4.1.6 Expiring spectrum licencesA significant issue for the government and industry over the next few years will be theexpiry of licences in a number of spectrum-licensed bands. Some of these bands arecurrently being used for the delivery of high-value telephony and broadband services.Table 4.1 provides a summary of the spectrum-licensed frequency bands andbandwidths, the year that the licences expire and the type of service for which theapplicable technical framework is optimised.Table 4.1 Expiry of spectrum licences Frequency band Bandwidth Year of expiry Main/intended use 500 MHz17 2x4 MHz 2012 Land mobile (501–505/511–515 MHz) 800 MHz 2x20 MHz 2013 Mobile telephony 825–845 MHz/810–890 MHz 1800 MHz 2x75 MHz 2013 & 2015 Mobile telephony (1710–1785/1805–1880 MHz) 28 & 31 GHz 850 MHz 2014 LMDS/MMDS (27.5–28.35/31–31.3 GHz) 300 MHz 2.3 GHz 2015 BWA (2302–2400 MHz) 98 MHz 3.4 GHz 2015 FWA (3425–3442.5/3475–3492.5 2x17.5 MHz MHz, 3442.5–3475/3542.5– 2x32.5 MHz 3575 MHz) 27 GHz 2016 LMDS/MMDS (26.5–27.5 GHz) 1 GHz 2 GHz 2017 Mobile telephony (1900–1920 MHz) 20 MHz (1920-1980/2110–2170 MHz) 2x60 MHz 20 & 30 GHz 2021 Defence (20.2–21.2 GHz/ 1 GHz 30–31 GHz)Under the Act, the ACMA has three options for reallocating these licences when theyexpire:1. Allocate new spectrum licences in the bands under section 60 of the Act by an auction, tender, or pre-determined or negotiated price.2. Re-issue licences to the same licensees without undertaking a price-based allocation, if: the licence used to provide a service that is part of a class of services for which the minister determines re-issuing licences to the same licensees would be in the public interest; or it is satisfied that special circumstances exist in which it is in the public interest for the existing licensee to continue to hold the licence.In either case, incumbent licensees will generally incur a spectrum access charge,which the ACMA determines under section 294 of the Act.17 A small number of spectrum licences in the 500 MHz band expired on 31 May 2007. These licences wereoffered to market by price-based allocation for a five-year term to align their expiry with all other 15-yearspectrum licences in the 500 MHz band which are due to expire in 2012.
  29. 29. 3. Allocate the spectrum under either apparatus or class licences. This requires the minister to formally revoke the legislative instrument that established the spectrum licences.18To date, the minister has not determined a class of service for which re-issue would bein the public interest, although he has indicated that he may do so.19Irrespective of the method of re-allocating the spectrum, the ACMA will update thetechnical framework to reflect best practice spectrum management practices beforethe licences expire.4.2 New projects4.2.1 Review of the 900 MHz bandThe 900 MHz Band Plan was created in 1992, primarily to facilitate the introduction ofpublic mobile telecommunications competition in the frequency range 820–960 MHz.The Radiocommunications (Low Interference Potential Devices) Class Licence 2000(the LIPD class licence) also authorises the operation of a variety of devices in the915–928 MHz range, including radiofrequency identification (RFID) transmitters.The band currently supports a variety of radiocommunications services, including: public mobile telephony services trunked land mobile services single channel, low capacity and wideband fixed services broadcasting studio-to-transmitter links (STLs) miscellaneous low-power fixed and mobile services radiolocation services.Figure 4.1 shows the distribution of the above assignment types in the 900 MHz BandPlan.18 Either a section 36 designation or a section 153B declaration under the Radiocommunications Act 1992.19
  30. 30. Figure 4.1 Distribution of assignments in the 900 MHz band plan20 Spectrum Allocations Assignment Numbers 8% 2% 0.3% 0.3% 11% 8% 4% 4% 21% 53% 6% 83% Cellular mobile telephone services Broadcasting studio-to-transmitter links (STLs) Trunked land mobile services Miscellaneous low power fixed and mobile services Single channel, low capacity and wideband fixed Radiolocation services servicesThe ACMA is preparing to review the 900 MHz band to facilitate technologicaldevelopments and improve efficiencies in the band.The legislative nature of the 900 MHz Band Plan means that parliamentary approval isrequired for any amendment or alteration to occur. One of the objectives of theACMA’s review will be to improve regulatory flexibility by reviewing the legislativestatus of the 900 MHz Band Plan.A second objective of the review will be to consider the current service allocations inthe 900 MHz Band Plan. The 857–865 MHz and 933–935 MHz bands were allocatedfor use by CT2 and CT3 digital cordless telephone systems (CTS) and DSRRsystems. However, CT2 and DSRR systems failed to gain acceptance in Australia orinternationally and the CT3 system has been effectively superseded by the Europeandigital enhanced cordless telecommunications (DECT) system. Consequently, thebands 857–865 MHz and 933–935 MHz appear to be poorly utilised.To preserve planning flexibility, the ACMA created spectrum Embargo 34 preventingany further licensing of CTS or fixed links in the 857–859 MHz, 861–865 MHz and933–935 MHz frequency ranges. The ACMA will consider removing the allocation fortechnologies such as DSRR and CTS.The 806-820 MHz band is currently used for television services (known as channel 68and 69). Television services on these channels are to be switched off or relocated as20 Assignments included consist of device registrations under spectrum licences for CMTS, as well asfrequency assignments corresponding to apparatus-licensed land mobile base station transmitters. P-MPtransmitters, sound-outside-broadcast transmitters, point-to-point links and licensed CTS. Class-licensedusage is not included in the graph.
  31. 31. part of the digital dividend process being undertaken by the Department of Broadband,Communications and the Digital Economy. However, the Region Three (Asia-Pacific)band plan for the Digital Dividend does not include the 806-820 MHz band as it is notused for television services in other countries. Future options for this spectrum includepairing with parts of the 900 MHz band that are underutilised, to expand services inthe band. For example, this spectrum could be used to expand spectrum-licensedservices used for third generation mobile telephony or land mobile services.Additionally, the ACMA will investigate the possible use of smart infrastructure in someof the underutilised spectrum.The review will also consider changing the existing planning arrangements to supportchangeover from second generation mobile telephony to third or even fourthgeneration mobile communications. Currently three operators provide secondgeneration mobile telephony to customers in the form of GSM under apparatuslicences. Each operator has approximately 8.4 MHz of spectrum in the uplink anddownlink segments. New technologies work on standards of 5 MHz blocks or multiplesthereof. The review will look at reallocating spectrum in blocks of 5 MHz rather thanthe current 8.4 MHz and also consider whether the current licensing arrangement isappropriate.The ACMA is monitoring developments and trends in this band. The ACMA alsoexpects to commence an examination of the 900 MHz band in the first half of 2011.4.2.2 Service planning for smart infrastructureSmart infrastructure is technology based, adaptive infrastructure that combines two-way communication systems with infrastructure such as roads, railways, electricity,gas and water. The system gathers real-time data and uses the information to improveefficiency, report and dynamically fix problems and adapt to meet requirements.Wireless communication is likely to be a major component of the effective and efficientoperation of smart infrastructure systems. It is therefore likely that radiofrequencyspectrum will be required to facilitate smart infrastructure. Some electricity providershave already made arrangements to access spectrum licences in the 2.3 GHz band(held by AUSTAR and Unwired) to support the first smart grid rollouts.While a number of countries have allocated spectrum for a particular sector (forexample, smart electricity grids or intelligent transport systems), the ACMA considersthat a holistic approach to spectrum for smart infrastructure may produce greaterefficiency. The ACMA considers that such a holistic approach has potential toencourage spectrum sharing within and across different infrastructure sectors, whichwill result in greater spectrum efficiency than ad hoc, single-sector solutions.Harmonisation across different sectors can provide greater efficiency by avoiding thesituation where different players in the same industry use different spectrum solutions.This is the case in Victoria where the state government has mandated the rollout ofsmart meters and different providers have chosen different technology platforms—mesh networks in the 900 MHz band and WiMAX network in 2.3 GHz band. Byencouraging harmonised spectrum use across and between infrastructure sectors, thepublic benefits associated with an allocation of spectrum for smart infrastructure, suchas increased economies of scale and operability, may be realised.In early 2011, the ACMA will release a discussion paper to open dialogue with thewider, smart infrastructure community to better determine its technical requirements asa basis for determining spectrum needs and demand for these services.
  32. 32. 4.2.3 Earth station sitingDue to competing demands between satellite and terrestrial radiocommunicationsservices, the ACMA has identified spectrum management issues associated with thesiting of some satellite Earth stations. In certain bands, they currently share terrestrialservices in areas of high spectrum demand, such as urban areas.While it is acknowledged that some satellite Earth stations need to operate in urbanareas, in at least some cases there may be satellite dependent services that can besuccessfully provided by Earth stations located in less populated areas wherespectrum demand is low.The ACMA is planning to release a discussion paper in the third quarter of 2011 thatwill review current spectrum management arrangements regarding the deployment ofsatellite Earth stations in shared bands in metropolitan areas. The ACMA recognisesthat it must balance the costs to Earth station operators of locating their station inthese areas with the benefits of making spectrum available for services to thecommunity. Where spectrum demand for terrestrial services is highest, the possibilityof siting of Earth stations in less populated areas may make spectrum available inurban areas (for which it would otherwise be denied).This is a complex issue and will require extensive consultation with stakeholders.Through submissions to the Outlook, the satellite industry has expressed reservationsabout such an approach being implemented, which according to this industry mayresult in substantial costs associated with relocating equipment and infrastructure andestablishing and maintaining backhaul communications, along with logisticalconsiderations.The ACMA is also planning to release a discussion paper on licensing for satelliteEarth stations in the third quarter of 2011, to examine the efficiency and effectivenessof this regime.4.2.4 Service planning for mobile broadbandRecently there has been increased international focus and scrutiny on spectrumrequirements for future mobile broadband services. The Federal CommunicationsCommission (FCC) and Broadband Delivery UK, the body charged with delivering theUnited Kingdom’s broadband strategy, have released papers stating that 500 MHz ofspectrum will be required for mobile broadband.21The ACMA is considering spectrum requirements for future mobile broadband. Itsanalysis will take into account the potential for spectral efficiency that can be achievedby operators.The ACMA plans to release the first in a series of consultation papers in 2011, whichrecognises the increasing demand for mobile broadband services and applications. Itwill consider broadband strategies used by regulators overseas and consider the totalquantum of spectrum required and the frequency bands where this spectrum may beavailable. The ACMA will identify bands that could be considered for use by mobilebroadband services in Australia.Frequency band analysis in this paper will look at the regulatory and technical issuesthat will need to be addressed if the band is to be made available. Such issues mayinclude the need to develop effective sharing arrangements between incumbentservices and new services. Responses to this first paper will allow the ACMA to21 For further information on these strategies, see the FCC’s National Broadband Plan available and the UK’s brochure titled Britain’s Superfast Broadband Future available
  33. 33. develop a work plan. Once the work plan is set, the ACMA will consult on eachfrequency band separately, so that issues raised by industry or affected stakeholderscan be considered.4.2.5 Use of opportunity cost pricingIn January 2010, the ACMA announced that it would consider the use of opportunitycost pricing for annual fees for administratively allocated spectrum as one of a suite oftools for managing spectrum.If and when applied, the opportunity cost pricing of administratively allocated spectrumwould supplement traditional tools such as technical frameworks and licensingarrangements. The opportunity cost of part of the radiofrequency spectrum is thehighest-value use that is denied by granting access to one party rather than to thealternative. Opportunity cost pricing contributes to the ACMA’s first two Principles forSpectrum Management.Prices that better reflect the opportunity cost of spectrum are designed to createincentives for spectrum holders to return spectrum when they are using it for a lower-value use or not at all. This spectrum can then be put to more productive use byspectrum holders willing to pay the opportunity cost price. This incentive will enableand encourage spectrum to move to its highest-value use or uses over time.As noted in The way ahead: Timeframes and implementation options for the 400 MHzband, the ACMA reaffirms its commitment to the introduction of opportunity cost pricingfor the 403–520 MHz band.22 For those parts of the band where price increases areexpected, the ACMA understands that stakeholders require sufficient time to buildadditional costs into their budgets. To provide stakeholders with sufficient time, theACMA proposes to implement any price increases incrementally over five years,commencing 2012.To ensure that a comprehensive approach is taken to the application of opportunitycost principles, the ACMA will provide further information about its methodologies andother priority bands throughout 2011.22 The way ahead: Timeframes and implementation options for the 400 MHz band paper can be found
  34. 34. 5. Future spectrum needsThis chapter provides spectrum demand analysis for the next five years for different spectrumservices and outlines the ACMA’s proposed approaches for managing and addressing these issues.For each of the ten services set out in this chapter, there is also a brief discussion about spectrumrequirements that may arise beyond 2015. A brief description of each service and important demandissues is listed below:Aeronautical mobile: The aeronautical mobile service consists of the voice and data communications thatare necessary to ensure the safety and efficiency of aviation, both civil and military. In this report, theaeronautical radionavigation service (ARNS) is included in the radiodetermination service section. During2010, the ACMA completed work to facilitate mobile communications systems on aircraft. The ACMA is nowconsidering a range of issues in the lead up to WRC-12.Broadcasting: Broadcasting involves one-way radiofrequency transmissions intended for direct reception bythe general public. In this Outlook, the broadcasting-satellite service is included in the satellite servicesection and mobile television is included in the WAS section, due to strong technical or commercialsynergies with these other services. The ACMA is currently undertaking a range of work to support digitalswitchover, restack and dividend allocation.Fixed: The fixed service is a radiocommunications service between a fixed transmitter and one or more fixedreceivers—point-to-point (P-P) or point-to-multipoint (P-MP). In this Outlook, the fixed-satellite service isincluded in the satellite service section and FWA is included in the WAS section. During 2011, the ACMA willcontinue work to coordinate fixed services with Earth stations and will commence a review of the 900 MHzband.Land mobile: The land mobile service is a terrestrial service that provides radiocommunications betweenbase stations and land mobile stations, or directly between land mobile stations. The ACMA’s planned workon the 900 MHz band is also relevant to the land mobile service.Maritime: The maritime mobile service consists of the voice and data communications, which is necessaryto ensure the safety and efficiency of maritime activities both civil, military and search and rescue. In thisOutlook, the maritime mobile-satellite service is included in the satellite service section, and the maritimeradionavigation service is included in the radiodetermination service section. The ACMA’s work in this areain the coming Outlook period will focus on WRC-12 preparation and implementation.Radiodetermination: Radiodetermination is the use of the propagation properties of radio waves todetermine the position, velocity or other characteristics of an object, or to obtain information relating to theseparameters. The radiodetermination service includes the radionavigation, radionavigation-satellite,radiolocation and radiolocation-satellite services. Monitoring of increased use of Ultra wideband and EESSpassive sensors continues.Satellite: Satellite communications have enabled applications requiring international communications orlarge coverage areas and are an important component of the telecommunications industry. Satellite systemshave ‘footprints’ (coverage areas) that can cover up to one-third of the Earth so they usually cannot beconsidered solely on a national basis. For this reason, the ITU provides a process for the coordination ofsatellite systems that is outlined in the ITU Radio Regulations. The ACMA is planning to release twodiscussion papers in the third quarter of 2011 in this area, one to review current spectrum managementarrangements regarding the deployment of satellite Earth stations in shared bands in metropolitan areas anda second to examine satellite Earth station licensing.Science services: The science services (also referred to here as space science services) consist of thecommunications components connecting the Earth and space stations that comprise these services in orderto transfer data to the Earth for processing. These services also have communications components.Frequency allocations for these services are made on a global basis due to their use of space and, in some
  35. 35. cases, their dependence on naturally occurring emissions. The ACMA’s proposed Mid West Radio QuietZone protection arrangements are a key focus for this subchapter.Wireless access services (WAS): The term ‘wireless access services’ encompasses the variety of waysthat telecommunications carriers, internet service providers or other service providers deliver a radioconnection to an end-user from a core network. Although satellite communications are also wireless, thissection focuses on the requirements for WAS using terrestrial networks. Identifying spectrum requirementsfor mobile broadband will be a key area of work for the ACMA in 2011 for this service.Emerging technologies: The rapid pace of emerging technologies and their adoption will shape and informour lives at all levels. Understanding their current development will assist in ensuring that all Australians reapthe benefits that these technologies can offer to society. The ACMA’s work on emerging technologiesincludes ongoing research and monitoring activity, as well as support for trials.5.1 Aeronautical mobileThe aeronautical mobile service consists of the voice and data communications,which is necessary to ensure the safety and efficiency of aviation, both civil andmilitary. 23 Australian allocations are consistent with harmonised ITU allocations tothe aeronautical service. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) isinvolved in the harmonisation of equipment standards and frequency planningcriteria. ICAO’s Asia and Pacific Office is responsible for the development offrequency plans for civil aviation member states in this region. It is also responsiblefor coordinating aeronautical frequency assignments across countries that could beaffected by such assignments. Airservices Australia is accredited by the ACMA toendorse all frequency assignments in aeronautical mobile bands. 245.1.1 Current spectrum useThere are several HF bands allocated to aeronautical mobile. The ‘route’ (R) serviceis associated with air-ground-air communications for the safety and regularity of civilaviation. The ‘off-route’ (OR) service is generally used by military aircraft.The heaviest usage of aeronautical mobile spectrum is in the 117.975–137 MHzVHF aeronautical mobile (R) service (AM(R)S) band, mostly for air traffic control(ATC) using voice communications. Aeronautical HF spectrum is mostly used foraircraft flying in areas where VHF coverage is not available, particularly over thehorizon in oceanic areas. Telemetry allows the remote monitoring of systems, withremote system control enabled by the associated telecommand. The only currentnon-defence application is the aircraft communications addressing and reportingsystem (ACARS), typically operating at about 131 MHz. There are some VHFchannels for coordinated search and rescue (SAR) with sea vessels. The remainingallocations at frequencies above this are for the aeronautical mobile-satellite service.Defence aeronautical telemetry systems operate in the band 4400–5000 MHz. Thisband is designated to be used principally for defence purposes, as well as in otherbands for systems including those aboard UAVs. Other aeronautical mobile systemsinclude the air combat manoeuvring instrumentation (ACMI) and TSPI (time spaceposition information) at 1350–1400 MHz. Airborne telemetry including flighttermination systems (FTS) at 420–430 MHz. Defence also utilises the aeronauticalmobile service in parts of the 230–399.9 MHz band.23 In this report, the aeronautical radionavigation service (ARNS) is included in the radiodeterminationservice section.24 Airservices Australia is a government-owned corporation providing air traffic control management andrelated airside services to the aviation industry.
  36. 36. A limited number of wideband aeronautical mobile systems are thought to currentlyoperate in Australia by different users in a number of frequency bands. This includesthe 915–928 MHz, 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz class-licensed bands.25 Current widebandaeronautical mobile systems range from amateur and hobby FM (frequencymodulation) video transmitters on radio controlled aircraft to high definition (HD)digital video systems on board helicopters.26Mobile communications systems on aircraftThe ACMA has implemented appropriate radiocommunications licensingarrangements to facilitate mobile communication services on aircraft (MCA).In July 2010, the ACMA established a PMTS Class C apparatus licence typeauthorising the operation of MCA in geographic areas that are not subject tospectrum licensing via the issue apparatus and class licences.27 In spectrum-licensed areas, MCA may only be authorised by agreement with the spectrumlicence holder. This is referred to as a third party authorisation.28The ACMA’s licensing arrangement does not restrict the types of mobilecommunication services that can be offered on aircraft. That is, the licensingarrangement does not exclude any particular service, including voice calls. TheACMA regards the deployment of any particular kind of service as a commercialdecision to be made by service providers and airlines.The use of on-board systems must at all times be in accordance with airline safetyand operational procedures. Calls connecting directly to terrestrial networks are notauthorised under the licensing arrangements. Should alternative, safe methods ofmobile communication on aircraft be proposed for commercial operation in the future(including those that access Australia’s terrestrial networks) the ACMA would moveto consider those methods.5.1.2 2011–2015Issues affecting spectrum demandVHF band congestionCongestion in the VHF aeronautical band has been identified in some parts of theworld. This congestion is expected to increase with the anticipated growth in aircrafttraffic, which is predicted to more than double over the next 15 years. However, theaeronautical industry is working to transform its operating practices and re-engineerits infrastructure to accommodate the additional demands within existing allocations.Changes include the use of more spectrally efficient technologies (such as migrationto digital systems) and reducing channel spacing.29Airservices Australia is implementing a digital ATC radio network to upgrade existingVHF and HF communication systems. This work is expected to accommodate futuregrowth in demand for aeronautical mobile spectrum within the current allocations.Additional allocations made at WRC-07At the World Radiocommunication Conference 2007 (WRC-07) the bands 108–117.975 MHz, 960–1164 MHz and 5091–5150 MHz were allocated to the AM(R)S25 Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing, Attorney-General’s Department, 2008,Radiocommunications (Low Interference Potential Devices) Class Licence 2000, available This application uses the 2.5 GHz band used for ENG. For more information, see section For more information go to For more information, Channel spacing has been reduced from 50 kHz to 25 kHz channels in Australia; 8.33 kHz channels arebeing used in Europe.