Holders of spectrum licences are required to register the transmitters, and in some cases the receivers, they deploy under their licence. Registering devices protects licensees from interference and indicates that the device is operating within licence conditions.
The ACMA will, generally speaking, refuse to register a device whenever it would give rise to levels of emission outside the licence that would be ‘unacceptable interference’ within the meaning of section 145 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992. For more information see Interference resolution and Registering groups of transmitters and receivers.
Accredited persons and certificates
The Radiocommunications Act 1992 provides for the ACMA to accredit persons to issue certificates associated with the use of the radiofrequency spectrum. The instrument determined by the ACMA setting out the conditions of accreditation is the Radiocommunications (Accreditation - Prescribed Certificates) Principles 2003.
The ACMA accredits technically qualified persons to issue two kinds of certificates:
- Frequency Assignment Certificates (FACs) - for the operation of radiocommunications transmitters and receivers under apparatus licensing arrangements
- Interference Impact Certificates (IICs) – for the registration of devices under spectrum licensing.
The ACMA’s List of accredited persons provides contact details for people who are accredited to issue both kinds of certificates.
The Radiocommunications (section 145(3) Certificates) Determination 2000 sets out the certification options available for registering devices under spectrum licensing. When registering a radiocommunications transmitter under a spectrum licence an accredited person is has three options available for the issue of an Interference Impact Certificate:
- Certify that the operation of the radiocommunications transmitter will not cause an unacceptable level of interference as set out in the section 145 determination for the frequency band.
- Certify that the use of guard space is sufficient to mitigate potential interference from the radiocommunications transmitter
- Certify that consent in writing to interference from the radiocommunications transmitter has been given by all licensees who, in the opinion of the accredited person, may be affected by the interference.
The technical basis for calculating whether a transmitter complies with the requirements of option 1 for issuing an IIC are set out in the section 145(4) determination specific to each band.
Guidance on device registration
Guidance on the registrations of radiocommunications devices under the guard space and agreement certification options is provided in the information paper Registration of radiocommunications devices under spectrum licences (Word [.docx] or PDF formats).
This document replaces the Radiocommunications Advisory Guidelines (Registration of Devices under Spectrum Licences without an Interference Impact Certificate) 1998, which are now defunct due to changes made to the Radiocommunications (section 145(3) Certificates) Determination 2000.
These changes were made in 2005 (with commencement on 1st January 2006) to include guard space and agreements as options for the issue of an IIC. Consequently registration of devices without an IIC is no longer a valid option under a spectrum licence. For further information please refer to the Radiocommunications (section 145(3) Certificates) Amendment Determination 2005 (No. 1).
Radiofrequency spectrum forms are available online and device registration is possible using FTP transfer. Public information on licensees can be found on the Register of Radiocommunications Licences.
Registering groups of transmitters and receivers
The section 145(4) Determination for each spectrum licensed band also sets out the definition of a group of transmitters and a group of receivers for the purpose of simplifying registration of those devices. The Determination specifies how the registration details for a group of transmitters and receivers must be calculated.
Unless exempted, transmitters must always be registered as either an individual transmitter or as part of a group of transmitters. If two or more transmitters are operated for the purpose of communicating with the same receiver or same group of receivers and they have identical emission characteristics, then those transmitters may be treated as a group in order to simplify the registration process. A transmitter may belong to more than one group. Groups are defined to help minimise the work associated with the registration process of similar transmitters. A group of devices may have location details consisting of a centre and an associated effective radius that can take into account the distribution of subscriber transmitters. Mobile and indoor transmitters are exempted from device registration requirements. Licensees may decide whether to register receivers based on a risk assessment of the benefits achieved through coordination to manage out-of-band interference.