Independent voice for newly created radio spectrum body

Inaugral meeting held last week

To ensure there is an independent voice on the federal government's new spectrum consultation body, Geoff Luther, has been appointed specialist industry advisor on the Radiocommunications Consultative Committee (RCC).

The RCC held its first meeting last week with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) describing Luther's role as that of a public interest advocate.

It is a role that is independent of the ACMA and allows Luther to draw on his specialist knowledge and experience as a former radiocommunications regulator.

ACMA chairman, Chris Chapman, said the appointment will provide additional capacity for the RCC to take account of legitimate interests that may not otherwise be represented on the committee.

He said Luther has a distinguished record as a consultant on radiocommunications policy matters.

The RCC includes representatives of the major spectrum industry and government sectoral interests, as well as the heads of the Australian Radiocommunications Study Groups.

The committee is chaired by Chapman and the ACMA has also invited organisations representing the remote sensing community (active and passive) to nominate a representative following industry feedback.

Pending a nomination the remote sensing community was represented by the CSIRO at the inaugral meeting.

Industry are also seeking the inclusion of other sectoral interests on the committee which is currently being considered by the ACMA.

Chapman said a number of important issues were raised at the RCC's inaugural meeting including the government and emergency services usage requirements of the 400 MHz band.

Much of this spectrum has become congested in the major capital cities and there is a growing need to provide for technologies that make more efficient use of the spectrum.

Chapman said the ACMA is set to begin consultations on future arrangements for the 403-520 MHz band and to consider strategies that can be implemented to improve radiocommunications interoperability.

The 400MHz band plan is one of several significant spectrum management documents ACMA is intending to release in the lead up to its spectrum management conference RadComms 08.

These include its spectrum management principles and a Five-year Spectrum Outlook, which will provide spectrum users with information about the pressures on spectrum and ACMA's associated work program, and an independent review of government spectrum holdings.

The three-day RadComms 08 conference will be held in Melbourne from April 30 to May 2, 2008.

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