ACMA Releases Submissions on Spectrum Options for 400 MHz Spectrum
Michael Owen - VK3KI
In April this year, the ACMA released a discussion paper that sought comment from interested stakeholders for the development of future arrangements for spectrum in the range 403 – 520 MHz, otherwise known as the 400 MHz band. The ACMA received 73 submissions in response to the discussion paper. Details of the submissions can be found on the ACMA website by clicking the following Link
The discussion paper in particular sought comment from the amateur community on its continued use of the segments 420 – 430 MHz and 440 – 450 MHz in the amateur 70cm band. The WIA lodged a submission on behalf of all Australian amateurs. A copy of the submission can be found below.
The review of the 400 MHz spectrum is driven by the increasing use of this valuable piece of spectrum by government, industry and recreational users. In the more heavily populated areas UHF spectrum is very scarce. The review sought information and comment on a number of broad areas:
Options for improving technical efficiency in the use of the 400 MHz band (such as reducing channel bandwidths, reviewing preferred transmit/receive frequency separations (also commonly referred to as 'splits'), increased use of digital technologies and trunking systems and exploring opportunities for channel loading and sharing).
Consideration of the allocation and licensing mechanisms used in the 400 MHz band with the goal of improving allocative efficiency. This includes the possibility of increased use of market mechanisms to facilitate greater efficiencies in the 400 MHz band and of class licensing or spectrum licensing arrangements in various parts of the band.
Consideration of new technologies and complementary uses of the band such as public cellular mobile telephone services particularly suited for deployment in regional and rural areas.
Opportunities for the harmonisation of spectrum use by certain government agencies.
The task that ACMA has set itself is a challenging one given the number and range of affected users and proposes a series of further discussion papers in the future as options become clearer. The ACMA has indicated that it proposes to form a Working Group of select organisations to assist in developing the new spectrum arrangements for the 400 MHz band. The WIA has been invited to represent recreational users on the working group.