Sunday, 23 October 2016 17:50

Spectrum up for grabs at ACMA auction Featured


The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released a consultation paper on its proposal to auction off spectrum that remained unsold after the 700 MHz digital dividend auction three years ago.

The 30 MHz of unsold 700 MHz spectrum will go to auction in April 2017.

“(The) 700 MHz band spectrum is highly valued for 4G LTE mobile broadband,” said ACMA acting chairman, Richard Bean.

“The 700 MHz band unsold lots are available under spectrum licences which will be attractive to any participant interested in offering nationwide mobile broadband services.”

The ACMA is consulting on draft allocation instruments, which describe the product being offered and the rules and procedures that will govern the auction process,with the consultation paper setting out information on:

•    How the ACMA proposes to configure the spectrum for auction

•    How the auction is proposed to operate

•    How interested parties can participate

In its consutation paper the ACMA is seeking feedback on its proposed timeline, amendment to the tax determination, the draft marketing plan, and the draft allocation determination.

Submissions are due by 17 November.

The eventual sale of unsold spectrum was set in motion on 1 November 2011, when the then Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, after considering recommendations made by the ACMA, made the Radiocommunications (Spectrum Re-allocation) Declaration No.1 of 2011 (the reallocation declaration).

The reallocation declaration provided that 2 x 45 MHz of spectrum (703–748 and 758–803 MHz (the declared spectrum)) in the 700 MHz band was to be subject to re-allocation by issuing spectrum licences.

Subsequently, following consultation and various pre-auction processes, the ACMA offered the declared spectrum to interested parties through the 2013 digital dividend auction.

Following the auction, 2 x 15 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum remained unsold, and the ACMA’s allocation procedures for the digital dividend auction provided that any unsold 700 MHz spectrum lots might later be offered for allocation by a procedure at a time to be determined by the ACMA.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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