Prices for ‘scientific licences’ (i.e. a licence issued to authorise research into and testing of radiocommunications, including trials of new technology) could be reduced by up to 90%, as the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has launched a review of the charges. Outlining the matter, the regulator said: ‘Over time, it has become apparent that the structure of the current apparatus licence tax formula, along with changing spectrum demands of modern radiocommunications technology, has made the apparatus licence fees associated with scientific licences less attractive for innovators to seek licences for testing of new technologies.’
As a result, the ACMA has proposed it will reduce taxes associated with scientific licences in two ways: firstly, by applying a reduction of 90% to the current fee structure, and secondly, by applying tax on a licence basis, rather than on a site basis.
The decision to examine the charges for scientific licences has reportedly been prompted by complaints from operators that the existing system would make the costs of 5G tests too expensive. As such, a consultation on the matter will now run until 14 September 2017.