A strategy to address the growth in mobile broadband capacity and an associated February 2016 edition work plan have been published by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Calling the release of the information ‘the latest iteration in a long-standing body of work over the past decade around mobile broadband spectrum management’, the strategy outline and the February 2016 edition of the work plan were finalised following a comprehensive industry consultation process, the regulator noted.
Commenting on the strategy, ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said: ‘The strategy signals a shift towards greater reliance on a contingency planning model, where the regulator plans for a range of potential outcomes in terms of mobile broadband capacity growth, but still seeks to enable the right spectrum to be made available – at the right time – depending on the scenarios that are unfolding,’ This change in approach is intended for the ACMA to be more flexible and responsive to the rapidly-changing spectrum environment, the regulator noted, pointing to the fact that in place of rigid quantitative targets, a more dynamic approach is being adopted for the identification and planning of spectrum for mobile broadband. In addition, the work plan is said to provide ‘an important indication of [the ACMA’s] forward action plans’, to which end Mr Chapman noted that there is expected to be immediate work carried out with relation to the 1.5GHz band identified for mobile broadband at last year’s World Radiocommunication Conference, while the watchdog will also press on with reconfiguring the 900MHz band.
On the back of this development, the ACMA has said it will include an updated mobile broadband work program in the annual update to its Five-Year Spectrum Outlook (FYSO), or another publication as appropriate in line with the implementation of the recommendations of the government’s Spectrum Review. This also will be used as a way to keep stakeholders informed on the suite of mobile broadband spectrum planning projects.