ACMA unveils proposed timetable for reallocation of digital dividend spectrum

27 May 2011

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has laid out its proposals for the sale of spectrum in the 700MHz and 2500MHz bands, calling for public feedback on the plans. According to the regulator this represents the first formal step towards a joint auctions for the country’s digital dividend frequencies, and it said it decision to offer the spectrum in a joint sale process scheduled for late 2010 reflected ‘the strongly complementary nature of the two bands for advanced mobile telecommunication.’

Spectrum in the 700MHz band, which is suitable for the deployment of services using 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE), will begin a reallocation process on 2 November 2011, under the regulator’s plans. Two 45MHz blocks of spectrum with frequency boundaries 703–748MHz and 758-803MHz are to be reallocated nationally, excluding part of the Mid West Radio Quiet zone, and the reallocation deadline has been set as 31 December 2013. Two 70MHz blocks of spectrum will be made available using the 2500-2570MHz and 2620-2690MHz frequencies respectively, and again the reallocation process will commence on 2 November 2011. While the bulk of spectrum is expected to be reallocated by end-September 2013, spectrum in Perth will not be available until 2016, due to the frequencies currently being in use for electronic news gathering (ENG) services.

Commenting on the development ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said: ‘Several milestones have been reached in the allocation process … These are important steps towards meeting the community’s increasing demand for mobile broadband and opening the door to new services being delivered to the public.’ The deadline for submissions on the ACMA’s proposals has been set as 15 July 2011.