The government is introducing a new Radiocommunications Act, reviewing pricing and conducting a review of its spectrum holdings in an effort to boost innovative and efficient use of spectrum.
Communications minister Mitch Fifield outlined the progress on reforming the country's spectrum regime this morning at the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s RadComms conference.
The measures form part of the government’s response to the spectrum review released in May last year.
“Australia’s current framework has been in place since 1992,” Fifield said in remarks prepared for the conference.
“At the time, it led the world by introducing market-based mechanisms that allowed the most coveted parts of the spectrum to be allocated to their highest-value use. But the communications landscape has now changed dramatically, with increasingly congested spectrum and new services continually demanding bandwidth.”
The new radiocomms act will be simpler and more clearly structured, removing unnecessary process and prescriptive detail, the minister said.
“It will better support new investment in spectrum‑based networks by allowing new technologies to be deployed and spectrum to be allocated more quickly,” the minister said.
The move to a single licensing framework will encourage efficient and innovative use of spectrum, Fifield said.
“As licences become more generic in nature, they are more easily shared, traded and leased. To this end, the legislation will set out core parameters that a licence must address, such as frequency and geographic area of operation, licence duration, rights of renewal and pricing.”
The ACMA will be able to create conditions relevant to a particular licence.
The review of spectrum pricing will consider “all aspects of pricing exemptions, concessions, and administrative taxes and charges, to ensure that they are consistent, transparent and support the efficient use of spectrum”
The review of the government’s spectrum holdings is underway and will “look at ways we can promote more productive uses of spectrum.”
The government today released a consultation paper on developing a new radiocomms act. The consultation will be followed by the release of an exposure draft of the act.