ACMA outlines plans for emergency spectrum allocation

29 Oct 2012

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced what it has termed its ‘strategic approach to meeting the very important future spectrum needs of Australia’s public safety agencies’. As part of its plans, the regulator has confirmed that it will make 10MHz of spectrum from the 800MHz band available for the deployment of a nationally interoperable public safety mobile broadband network, while a further 50MHz of spectrum from the 4.9GHz band will also be provided for use nationwide by public safety agencies. The ACMA said its proposals had come following a ‘thorough evidence-informed analysis conducted in conjunction with public safety agencies through the Public Safety Mobile Broadband Steering Committee’.

In a press release, ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said of the plans: ‘These measures build on previously announced arrangements expanding capacity in the 400MHz band and lay the foundation for the deployment of multi-layer, flexible and interoperable networks. The ACMA’s approach represents a ‘state of the art’ public safety spectrum solution that should facilitate voice, data and video communications for Australia’s public safety agencies long into the future.’

The watchdog has issued two papers with details of its plans, the first of which includes information related to the ACMA’s overarching strategy for spectrum for public safety radiocommunications (including the provision of spectrum in the 800MHz band). Looking ahead, the ACMA has said it will continue to work with public safety agencies on the development of an appropriate licensing framework as part of the ongoing review of the 803MHz-960MHz band, with a discussion paper to be released in December. The second paper outlines arrangements for spectrum in the 4.9GHz band.