Review of the 2.5 GHz band and long-term arrangements for ENG
Following consideration of responses received to its January discussion paper Review of the 2.5 GHz band and long-term arrangements for ENG, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is working on the implementation of new arrangements in the 2.5 GHz band and a range of other bands which are also directly affected by the changing arrangements in the 2.5 GHz band.
These new arrangements are:
- re-allocation of 2500-2570 MHz and 2620-2690 MHz for spectrum licences, at least in major metropolitan areas, with technical frameworks that are technology flexible but optimised for wireless access services (WAS);
- conversion of electronic news gathering (ENG) apparatus licences to 15 year spectrum licences on an Australia-wide basis in 2570–2620 MHz (“the mid-band gap” of the 2.5 GHz band);
- ENG access via apparatus licences to additional parts of the 2.5 GHz band in regional areas of known high use, as well as access on a shared basis with WAS in other areas dependent on demand for WAS; and
- ENG access to the following “alternative bands”:
- shared use of the bands 2025–2110 MHz and 2200–2300 MHz;
- exclusive use of the band 2010–2025 MHz, at least in capital city areas; and
- ENG access to 1980–2010 MHz and 2170–2200 MHz, with the caveat that mobile-satellite services may be introduced into these bands in the future, with ACMA investigating the viability of long-term sharing between ENG and mobile-satellite services.
These new arrangements are intended to achieve the key objectives of the 2.5 GHz band review:
- planning and allocation of the 2.5 GHz band which will maximise the overall benefit derived from that spectrum; and
- provision of long-term certainty for the current incumbents of the 2.5 GHz band – the free-to-air commercial broadcasters and the ABC.
The implementation phase of the review will continue to be characterised by ongoing consultation with affected stakeholders.
To assist stakeholders in understanding how the ACMA reached a view on appropriate future arrangements in the 2.5 GHz and alternative bands, the ACMA has released a Response to Submissions paper which summarises issues raised in response to the January discussion paper and provides the
ACMA’s preliminary response to those issues (see Media Release 132/2010).
The ACMA sought comment on a range of options for the future pricing, planning and licensing arrangements for the 2.5 GHz band (2500-2690 MHz) and on the suitability of several other bands to provide long-term spectrum arrangements for ENG.
To assist in consideration of these issues, the ACMA released the discussion paper titled Review of the 2.5 GHz band and long-term arrangements for ENG (see Media Release MR 7/2010). This paper follows on from the ACMA’s announcement in October 2008 that it intended to review the band to ensure that it can be planned and allocated to allow maximisation of the overall benefit derived from the spectrum.
The 2.5 GHz band is currently used primarily by free to air broadcasters for ENG. However, broadcasters have faced uncertainty about long-term spectrum arrangements since 2000, when the band was identified internationally for broadband wireless access services. This review therefore attempts to address some of that uncertainty by identifying a range of other bands which, in combination, might provide sufficient capacity for ENG service delivery that is equivalent to that currently provided.
The discussion paper identified the following bands as potentially suitable for ENG operations:
- shared use of the bands 2025-2110 MHz and 2200-2300 MHz;
- exclusive use of the band 2010-2025 MHz;
- ENG access to 1980-2010 MHz and 2170-2200 MHz, with the caveat that mobile-satellite services may be introduced in these bands in the future; and
- ENG access Australia wide to 2570-2620 MHz (part of the 2.5 GHz band).
The discussion paper noted the ACMA’s the preliminary view that the remainder of the 2.5 GHz band (2500-2570 MHz and 2620-2690 MHz) might be made available for wireless access services.
The comment period for the discussion paper closed on 12 March 2010 and the ACMA received 42 submissions during the consultation period, of which one was classified Commercial-in-Confidence. Submissions can be viewed via the links below.
Review of the 2.5 GHz band and long term arrangements for ENG: Submissions
Please direct any questions about the Response to Submissions Paper to 2.5GHzproject@acma.gov.au, or via telephone to the Manager, Spectrum Outlook and Review Section on (02) 6219 5430.
Media enquiries should be directed to Mr Donald Robertson on (02) 9334 7980 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org