ACMA Announces "The Way Ahead – Decisions and Implementation Options for the 400MHz Band" Paper
On Friday 30th April, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) released its third discussion paper on the replanning arrangements for the 400 MHz spectrum. A copy of the paper can be found on the ACMA website by clicking the following Link
Michael Owen - VK3KI
The WIA provided detailed submissions to the two papers in respect to the 70cm amateur UHF band allocations in the 400 to 520 MHz spectrum. In addition, the WIA is a member of the Radiocommunications Consultative Committee (RCC) 400 MHz sub committee working group, where industry provided advice to the ACMA on a number of important issues. The release of the "Way Ahead" paper coincided with the annual ACMA Radcoms 2010 Conference in Melbourne on the 5th and 6th May where a briefing to participants on the preliminary outcomes was discussed. The WIA was represented at the conference by WIA Director Peter Young, VK3MV, and gained further insights on the likely impact to the amateur service in this band.
Of particular interest to the community is that ACMA has confirmed that the segment between 430 to 440 MHz is out of scope for the purposes of the replanning exercise. Within this band the amateur service is a secondary user to Defence and these arrangements will continue into the future. In the paper, arrangements for services allocated to the amateur service within the bands 403-430 MHz and 440-520 MHz are within the scope of this paper. In the spectrum segment 420 to 430 MHz, the amateur service has already been excluded in NSW, Melbourne Perth and Sydney for use by government users. These exclusions will be extended to the rest of Australia over the coming years. The 440–450 MHz band, which was out of scope in the previous Proposals Paper, is now within the scope of the paper. This band is included as an option to assist in the transition to a 10 MHz duplex frequency split in the 450-470 MHz band. Further information suggests that use of this spectrum may be of a temporary nature and once the re-arrangements are completed this segment will return to the existing arrangements.
The WIA will be consulted on the details and will continue of have the amateur services interests highlighted in the transitional arrangements. It should be noted that the transitional arrangements will take a number of years and will be biggest re-arrangement of UHF spectrum ever undertaken at the one time and will affect a wide range of industry sectors, including Police and Emergency Services, Transport, Utilities and the general communications sector. Also of particular note is that ACMA has introduced the concept of increasing the number of UHF CBRS channels from 40 to 80 by the implementation of 12.5 kHz channelisation, with a corresponding phase-out of 25 kHz channel equipment. This will most likely take many years to occur where the availability and sale of equipment will be a big factor.
At the Radcoms 2010 conference, the ACMA announced that it would be undertaking a series of “Spectrum Tune Up” sessions around Australia on the proposed arrangements for the 400 MHz spectrum. The WIA will be attending these sessions to provide the "amateur perspective" to the radiocommunications industry.
The ACMA has sought comments to The Way Ahead paper by 6th June 2010 and the WIA will be making a submission on the proposed arrangements. If amateurs have comments to make in respect to the issues detailed in the paper, these can be sent to the WIA National Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
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