The ACMA

The ACMA

Spectrum licensing in the 2 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands

Consultation closes: 13 January 2017

IFC: 34/2016

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Document

Word

Consultation paper:
Proposed designation of spectrum for spectrum licensing—2 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands; includes Attachment A

3 MB

Attachment B:
Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex interference into mobile broadband user equipment at 2 GHz

16 MB

Overview

In 2000, the then Minister for Communications Information Technology and the Arts made the Radiocommunications (Spectrum Re-allocation) Declarations (‘the re-allocation declarations’), which allowed the ACMA’s predecessor to introduce spectrum licensing in the 2 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands. These re-allocation declarations have lapsed and are no longer in force.

The absence of an in force re-allocation declaration has no effect on existing spectrum licensees in the band. Nor does it affect the re-issue of those licences to the same licensees in the public interest, under section 82 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (‘the Act’). However, it does affect the ACMA’s options for allocating any spectrum in the two bands that is not currently allocated through spectrum licensing.

In the case of the 2 GHz band, this limitation currently affects the small number of lots left unsold after the original auction of spectrum licences in both bands. It would also affect any further 2 GHz lots that were left vacant after expiry of current licences, in the event that any existing licenses are not reissued. Spectrum licences in the 2 GHz band are now approaching expiry (11 October 2017). The ACMA has already commenced its spectrum licence re-issue process.

In the case of the 3.4 GHz band, a small number of spectrum licences were not re-issued at expiry in 2015 and the band also contains some spectrum that was not allocated in the original price-based allocation process.

As these unlicensed parts of the two bands are, or would be, interspersed amongst spectrum that is held as spectrum licences, it is desirable that all spectrum in the band should be subject to the same licence type - including terms, conditions and duration. However, the absence of an in force re-allocation declaration prevents the ACMA from allocating these lots as spectrum licences.

To be able to allocate all available spectrum in the 2 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands as spectrum licences, a ministerial notice is required under subsection 36(1) of the Act designating this spectrum as available for spectrum licencing, which may follow a recommendation from the ACMA to that effect following public consultation. The consultation paper addresses this requirement.

In addition, the consultation paper also seeks stakeholder views and comments on a proposal to identify and offer a small amount of 2 GHz spectrum in the Canberra area that was not included in the now lapsed re-allocation declaration for the 2 GHz band.

Important note

The consultation paper will NOT affect any process that the ACMA is currently undertaking for the re-issue of spectrum licences in the 2 GHz band.

Issues for comment

Issue for comment 1

Designate the 2 GHz band

The ACMA proposes to recommend to the minister that he give the ACMA a written notice, under subsection 36(1) of the Act, designating the entire spectrum identified in the lapsed 2 GHz reallocation declaration, including the 2 GHz residual spectrum be allocated by issuing spectrum licences. The frequency ranges and geographical areas include:

  • 1920–1935 MHz and 2110–2125 MHz in the major capital cities of Sydney Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Darwin and Hobart
  • 1935–1960 MHz and 2125–2150 MHz in the major capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart
  • 1960–1980 MHz and 2150–2170 MHz in the major capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart and regional east and west Australia.

The ACMA also welcomes submissions on whether there is stakeholder demand for access to this spectrum.

Issue for comment 2

Additional Canberra spectrum

The ACMA proposes to recommend to the minister that he designate spectrum in the ranges 1920–1935 MHz and 2110–2125 MHz in the area of Canberra to be allocated, by issuing spectrum licences.

This spectrum was excluded from the original spectrum licensing process due to the potential for interference from the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex (CDSCC) at Tidbinbilla. However, the ACMA now believes there is scope for mobile broadband services to share the spectrum, subject to caveats that will enable the CDSCC facility to continue operating unaffected by any changes.

The recommendation would not include designating the geographical area described by HCIS identifier MW4H6 for the 1920–1930 MHz and 2110–2120 MHz frequency ranges.

The ACMA seeks comment on this proposed recommendation to the minister.

If the 1920–1935 MHz and 2110–2125 MHz frequency range is designated to be allocated by issuing spectrum licences, the ACMA also seeks comment on the following proposals:

  • Any spectrum licences issued in the 1920–1935 MHz and 2110–2125 MHz frequency range in Canberra will not constrain current or future operations at the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex (CDSCC) in the 2110–2120 MHz frequency range.
  • A condition will be attached to any spectrum licences issued in Canberra, stating devices operated in the 2110–2125 MHz frequency range cannot claim protection from interference caused by transmitters operating at the CDSCC in the 2025–2120 MHz frequency range.
  • The ACMA will work with the CSIRO to make a contact person available, on an ongoing basis, to assist prospective and future licensees in obtaining greater detail on the timing and duration of planned deep space transmitter operations.
  • Removal of the requirement for transmitters, operating under a spectrum licence in the 2110–2120 MHz frequency range, to meet the device boundary criteria in the area defined by the excised MW4H6 HCIS identifier.

The ACMA would also welcome submissions on whether there is stakeholder demand for access to this spectrum.

Issue for comment 3

Designate the available 3.4 GHz spectrum

The ACMA proposes to recommend to the minister that he give the ACMA a written notice, under subsection 36(1) of the Act, designating the available 3.4 GHz spectrum to be allocated by issuing spectrum licences. The available spectrum includes:

  • 3439–3442.5 MHz in the Adelaide, Hobart and Launceston areas
  • 3489–3490 MHz in the Hobart and Launceston area
  • 3490–3492.5 MHz in the Perth, Brisbane, Canberra, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Hobart and Launceston areas
  • 3542.5–3546 MHz in the Sydney, Brisbane Canberra, Rockhampton and Toowoomba areas
  • 3546–3547 MHz in the Brisbane, Canberra, Rockhampton and Toowoomba areas
  • 3547–3575 MHz in the Brisbane areas.

The ACMA would also welcome submissions on whether there is stakeholder demand for access to this spectrum.

How to submit

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