The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has revealed that Stephen Conroy, the minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy, has issued it directions related to the reserve pricing for the country’s forthcoming digital dividend auction. According to the watchdog, the directive requires that the ACMA not set the reserve prices for the sale until the earliest occurrence of either the day after a further ministerial direction is given to the ACMA on reserve prices, or alternatively 60 days after the ACMA publishes a notice advertising the auction. Following the development, the ACMA has said that it now plans to revise the allocation instruments for the auction to reflect the ministerial decision, meaning that the applicant information package will no longer be published on 22 November 2012. However, the regulator said that it remains ‘on track’ to proceed with the auction in April 2013 as planned, and a revised timeline for the sale process will be published ‘as soon as possible’.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in June 2012 Australia’s Federal Government pushed back the sale of spectrum freed up following the switch-off of analogue television signals from its original late-2012 date to April 2013. In confirming the delay, the ACMA claimed that the revised timing would ‘maximise the product certainty for potential bidders,’ while also ensuring that successful bidders will have enough time to plan and deploy networks before their concessions begin on 1 January 2015. The proposed auction is expected to include spectrum in both the 700MHz and 2.5GHz bands.