ACMA to roll out spectrum auction system

Will be used to sell off 700MHz digitial dividend spectrum and possibly 2.5 GHz spectrum

The Federal Government is moving forward with its plan to sell off Australia’s 700MHz spectrum, with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) signalling its intention to source an auction system to allocate spectrum licences.

In ACMA documents, the communications regulator said the online auction system would provide interfaces for the public, an auction manager and bidders and would likely integrate with the agency's existing systems.

Prior to the spectrum auction, a prototype of the system will be provided to ACMA staff for trials, training purposes and mock auctions prior to the actual spectrum auction.

The auction for the 700MHz spectrum, referred to as the 'Digital Dividend' by the government, is expected to take place in the second half of 2012.

According to ACMA, the allocation of spectrum licences in the 2.5GHz band may take place in the same auction.

In June last year, communications minister, Stephen Conroy, estimated that the sale of the digital dividend would generate some $1 billion in revenue.

In January last year, the government called for responses on how best to cash-in on analogue spectrum following the digital television switchover in 2013.

The advancement of the 700MHz spectrum auction is unlikely to be welcomed over at the CSIRO, which is pushing ahead with its Ngara wireless over analogue TV spectrum project.

However, Optus has already jumped the gun, announcing in July that it was gifted 700Mhz spectrum to deploy 3G mobile services at 972 sites across regional and remote Australia.

At the time, Optus products and delivery managing director, Andrew Buay, said the release of the regional spectrum, in advance of expected new spectrum allocations in the 700MHz and 2.5GHz bands in the coming years, would help the telco increase competition in the regional communications market.

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @tlohman

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags ACMADigital dividend700mhz spectrum2.6ghz spectrum

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