Edited by Gerald R. Faulhaber, Gary Madden and Jeffrey Petchey
Chapter 12: Licensing Options for Digital Dividend Spectrum: An Australian Perspective
Benoît P. Freyens INTRODUCTION The range of spectrum applications and management problems facing radiocommunication authorities is constantly evolving. For instance, communications technology typically requires larger spectrum space as usage density outstrips supply, while established services are concerned about the potential for interference from incoming new services. These developments have led to complex policy trade-offs. Commercial users want both service flexibility and network certainty; government and the community want guarantees over their spectrum rights; regulators wish to promote efficiency and competition without threatening commercial viability and the provision of essential public services. As in other reform-oriented International Telecommunication Union (ITU) countries, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) uses radiocommunication licences to fine-tune these policy trade-offs. Digital dividend allocation is such an issue. By end-2013, the switchover of analogue television for digital television (DTV) services will release a sizeable portion of 700 MHz UHF spectrum for use by non-broadcasting services. This digital dividend will be the largest release of spectrum in Australia for decades, and likely decades to come. While the size and nature of the digital dividend is yet to be determined, there are several services with a strong interest in using the dividend spectrum and licensing options that could be employed to allocate released spectrum. To ensure that the greatest public benefit is realised these licensing options must be in place to start planning for the deployment of the new services in digital dividend bands. What are these options? The ACMA currently assigns and regulates radio frequency spectrum...
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