The Government announced on Wednesday that it is consulting on reforms to the Radiocommunications Act 1992, which was drafted nearly 30 years ago, with aim of the reforms to provide spectrum users with “greater certainty and support longer-term investment in new and innovative mobile technologies”.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said spectrum is a critical yet finite resource that “underpins today’s digitally connected economy and it is important the legislation remains fit-for-purpose”.
“The Morrison Government has a clear reform pathway to modernise our spectrum management framework, which will deliver benefits to the telecommunications industry by cutting red tape,” Minister Fletcher said.
“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.”
The amendments to the legislation - detailed in the 2020 Radiocommunications Reform consultation paper - will clarify the purpose of the Radiocommunications Act and streamline spectrum allocation and reallocation processes, including:
- Extending maximum spectrum licence terms from 15 to 20 years and maximum apparatus licence terms from 5 to 20 years
- Providing greater flexibility in decision making for allocating spectrum and apparatus licences
- Modernising the compliance and enforcement regime through increased regulatory options
- Additional information gathering powers for the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Minister Fletcher said that following consultation, draft amendments are expected to be finalised for consideration by the Government and introduction into the Parliament by the end of 2020, with interested stakeholders “encouraged to have their say on reforms by Friday, 17 July 2020”.