NBN Co and Telstra bag rural 2300MHz spectrum

13 Jul 2011

NBN Co, the public-private partnership set up to oversee the management and construction of the country’s in-deployment National Broadband Network (NBN) has emerged as the biggest winner in the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA’s) auction of spectrum in the 2300MHz band. In total, three companies walked away with frequencies at the closure of the sale process, with NBN Co bagging 24 of the 40 concessions that were up for grabs for a total of AUD1.33 million (USD1.41 million). On the back of its spectrum acquisition, which reportedly covers Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia, outback Queensland and far west New South Wales, NBN Co said that it now had ‘all the geographic coverage it needed from this auction for its wireless network.’ Further, the public-private company noted that, with its new frequencies complementing spectrum acquired from pay-TV and telecommunications services provider AUSTAR in February 2011, it was on track to complete the rollout of its wireless network by 2015. ‘We are pleased with the outcome of today’s auction as it means we can provide high-speed wireless services to some of the most poorly served areas as a priority. We are on target to provide wireless broadband services up to five years earlier than some areas earmarked for fibre,’ said NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley.

Fixed line incumbent Telstra meanwhile spent AUD304,300 on twelve 2300MHz spectrum licences, while vividwireless won four concessions via its subsidiary BKAL Pty Ltd at a cost of AUD37,300. The ACMA also noted that a further eight spectrum licences in the 2300MHz band will be offered to BKAL at a pre-determined price, after the company was the only applicant for the concessions.