Telcos called on to help with spectrum sell off

The federal government has called for responses on how best to cash-in on analogue spectrum following the digital television switchover in 2013

The federal government has called for responses on how best to cash-in on analogue spectrum following the digital television switchover in 2013.

The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy released a green paper that details the government’s plan to sell-off 126MHz of solid UHF spectrum, estimated to generate $1 billion in revenue, according to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.

The minister said he is confident the spectrum block, between 520Mhz and 820Mhz and dubbed “waterfront property”, will be cleaved off the analogue band once the television networks shift to digital.

"It is anticipated that a contiguous block of dividend spectrum will be suitable for a larger number of potential communications uses, maximising the potential benefits that the spectrum could provide to Australians,” Conroy said.

The sell-off will pump as much as $10 billion into the economy, according to 2009 research, provided the government can sell the entire 120Mhz block, and 140Mhz in regional areas where population density is much lower.

Mobile operators, reported to be preparing responses to the green paper, can use the spectrum for the deliver of powerful, data-intensive signals such as 4G, projected over long distances and through obstacles.

Mobile will account for two thirds of all Internet access subscriptions by 2012, according to the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association. The group says the sell-off, which has occurred around the developed world following the digital transition, will not eat away at fixed-line revenues.

Responses to the green paper will close on February 26.

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