Australian government consulting on spectrum management framework reforms

24 Jun 2020

The Australian government has launched a consultation on reforms designed to modernise the country’s spectrum management framework. With the state seeking to update the Radiocommunications Act 1992, it said that the proposed reforms ‘aim to provide spectrum users with greater certainty and support longer-term investment in new and innovative mobile technologies’. Specifically, the amendments are intended to clarify the purpose of the Act and streamline spectrum allocation and reallocation processes, and include: an extension of maximum spectrum licence terms from 15 to 20 years and maximum apparatus licence terms from five to 20 years; the provision of greater flexibility in decision making for allocating spectrum and apparatus licences; the modernisation of the compliance and enforcement regime through increased regulatory options; and additional information gathering powers for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Following the consultation, submissions to which are being accepted until 17 July 2020, draft amendments are expected to be finalised for consideration by the government and introduction into Parliament ‘by the end of 2020’.

Commenting, Paul Fletcher, Australia’s Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, said: ‘[The] Government has a clear reform pathway to modernise our spectrum management framework, which will deliver benefits to the telecommunications industry by cutting red tape … A more flexible framework that provides a longer-term investment horizon will allow industry to better adapt to future innovations and changing demand for spectrum, including the rollout of future generation mobile technology.’