Licensing 400 MHz HGS | ACMA

Licensing 400 MHz HGS

Issue for comment 21/2015—10 September 2015

Submissions for IFC 21/2015 have closed. The ACMA received nine submissions:


The ACMA commenced a review of the 400 MHz band in 2008 (400 MHz band review), which led to the identification of spectrum in the 400 MHz band as ‘harmonised government spectrum’. Several segments have been identified for exclusive licensing to government entities, primarily to support national security, law enforcement and emergency services, but also to support broader government use. The ACMA has developed arrangements for the licensing of this harmonised government spectrum in close consultation with individual stakeholders, relevant committees and peak industry groups. The final arrangements complement the objectives developed by these groups and the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed national framework for improved radiocommunications interoperability.

The ACMA is now proposing a licensing solution for harmonised government spectrum that aims to reduce the complexity of management of this part of the 400 MHz band under the Radiocommunications Act 1992. The goal is to offer state and territory governments the option of coordinating the use of harmonised government spectrum and manage the use of radiocommunications devices in this spectrum within their borders, through a new licensing approach where most government use in the harmonised government spectrum would be authorised by one licence. The ACMA has developed these arrangements in consultation with the National Coordinating Committee for Government Radiocommunications (NCCGR).

The ACMA proposes to create a new kind of land mobile licence, known as a Harmonised Government Spectrum Area (HGSA) licence. An HGSA licence would authorise the use of land mobile and point-to-multipoint stations in every part of a state or territory. A single HGSA licence would be issued to an entity for each state or territory, covering some or all of the harmonised government spectrum segments in the 400 MHz band. Any government entity seeking to operate a device in spectrum covered by an HGSA licence would need to approach the licensee for the relevant state or territory, to be authorised to operate a device under the licence in accordance with section 114 of the Act.

The closing date for submissions is COB, Friday 23 October 2015.

Discussion paper and attachments
The discussion paper discusses the proposed licencing, engineering, governance and pricing arrangements for HGSA licences, and asks for submissions about specific matters related to those arrangements. In particular, comment is sought on the proposed policy document Harmonised government spectrum area licences in the 400 MHz band at Attachment A, and the amendment to RALI LM08 at Attachment B. The discussion paper and related attachments are available from the table below: 

Document Word
Discussion paperLicensing of harmonised government spectrum in the 400 MHz band  392 KB 
Attachment A: Harmonised government spectrum area licences in the 400 MHz band  360 KB
Attachment B: Amendment to RALI LM08 127 KB
Attachment C: Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Amendment Determination 2015 (No.1)  51 KB

Effective consultation
The ACMA is committed to ensuring the effectiveness of its stakeholder consultation processes, which are an important source of evidence for its regulatory development activities. To assist stakeholders in formulating submissions to its formal, written consultation processes, it has developed the following guide: Effective consultation: A guide to making a submission. This guide provides information about the ACMA’s formal, written, public consultation processes and practical guidance on how to make a submission.

Publication of submissions
In general, the ACMA publishes all submissions it receives, including any personal information in the submissions (such as names and contact details of submitters). The ACMA prefers to receive submissions which are not claimed to be confidential. However, the ACMA accepts that a submitter may sometimes wish to provide information in confidence. In these circumstances, submitters are asked to identify the material (including any personal information) over which confidentiality is claimed and provide a written explanation for the claim. The ACMA will consider each confidentiality claim on a case-by-case basis. If the ACMA accepts a claim, it will not publish the confidential information unless authorised or required by law to do so.

Release of submissions where authorised or required by law
Any submissions provided to the ACMA may be released under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (unless an exemption applies) or shared with other Australian Government agencies and certain other parties under Part 7A of the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005. The ACMA may also be required to release submissions for other reasons including for the purpose of parliamentary processes or where otherwise required by law (for example, under a court subpoena). While the ACMA seeks to consult submitters of confidential information before that information is provided to another party, the ACMA cannot guarantee that confidential information will not be released through these or other legal means.

The Privacy Act 1988 imposes obligations on the ACMA in relation to the collection, security, quality, access, use and disclosure of personal information. These obligations are detailed in the Australian Privacy Principles that apply to organisations and Australian Government agencies.

The ACMA may only collect personal information if it is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, one or more of its functions or activities.

The purposes for which personal information is being collected (such as the names and contact details of submitters) are to:

  • contribute to the transparency of the consultation process by clarifying, where appropriate, whose views are represented by a submission
  • enable the ACMA to contact submitters where follow-up is required or to notify them of related matters (except where submitters indicate they do not wish to be notified of such matters).

The ACMA will not use the personal information collected for any other purpose, unless the submitter has provided their consent or the ACMA is otherwise permitted to do so under the Privacy Act.

Submissions in response to this paper are voluntary. As mentioned above, the ACMA generally publishes all submissions it receives, including any personal information in the submissions. If a submitter has made a confidentiality claim over personal information which the ACMA has accepted, the submission will be published without that information. The ACMA will not release the personal information unless authorised or required by law to do so.

If a submitter wishes to make a submission anonymously or through use of a pseudonym, they are asked to contact the ACMA to see whether it is practicable to do so in light of the subject matter of the consultation. If it is practicable, the ACMA will notify the submitter of any procedures that need to be followed and whether there are any other consequences of making a submission in that way.

Further information on the Privacy Act and the ACMA’s privacy policy is available at The privacy policy contains details about how an individual may access personal information about them that is held by the ACMA, and seek the correction of such information. It also explains how an individual may complain about a breach of the Privacy Act and how the ACMA will deal with such a complaint.

Last updated: 09 November 2017