ACMA releases 2019–23 draft FYSO
The ACMA released its latest draft five-year spectrum outlook (FYSO) at the beginning of April, outlining its proposed approach to mmWave planning in the 26 and 28 GHz bands. It also announced the availability of scientific spectrum licences in the 26 GHz band.
This year’s draft FYSO covers a wide range of wireless issues, including:
- Wireless broadband, including 5G
- Machine-to-machine communications and the IoT
- Satellite communications
- Government spectrum requirements
- New approaches to spectrum sharing
- Class licensing and the spectrum commons
- Amateur radio
According to the ACMA, “We are continually monitoring the environment to identify opportunities for improvements in spectrum management arrangements, and accommodating new and changed uses of spectrum while ensuring the continuation of existing uses of spectrum that are of value to the community.”
The ACMA consults widely to prepare a fresh FYSO each year. Beginning last year, it also began publishing a draft document, followed later by a final FYSO informed by feedback from industry.
The upcoming World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) also figures in the ACMA’s plans.
“Working with the Department of Communications and the Arts (DoCA) to ensure Australia’s interests are best represented at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) in October and November — and then commencing work on the identification and implementation of relevant outcomes in our domestic planning arrangements — will be key priorities for the ACMA in 2019–20,” the FYSO document states.
Future of the 26 GHz band
The ACMA has concluded a review of the 26 GHz band with the release of its Future use of the 26 GHz band–Planning decisions and preliminary views paper.
The 26 GHz band (24.25–27.5 GHz) is one of the bands at the forefront of the delivery of mmWave 5G wireless broadband services.
The release of the paper “signals the progression of the 26 GHz band to the ‘re-planning’ phase of the ACMA’s planning process”, according to an ACMA statement.
“Completing the replanning of the 26 GHz band is a significant priority for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and important in providing certainty to stakeholders interested in this band.”
The paper follows a period of consultation and study on how best to facilitate the deployment of 5G services in the 26 GHz band. Considerations detailed in the paper include:
- The proposed introduction of wireless broadband services in the band, along with proposed coexistence conditions necessary to ensure the ongoing, protected use of the band by various incumbent fixed-satellite, space-research and passive-earth exploration satellite services.
- The identification of a suite of possible spectrum, apparatus and class licensing measures to facilitate a broad range of wireless broadband use cases.
According to the ACMA, this combination of measures will “best maximise the overall public benefit derived from use of the band”.
“We will shortly commence work towards providing new arrangements to facilitate the introduction of 5G wireless broadband services into the 26 GHz band,” the ACMA statement said.
The ACMA has called for applications for scientific licences in the 26 GHz band for the purpose of enabling interested parties to conduct trials of 5G mmWave technology before the introduction of spectrum licensing in the band.
There are a number of conditions that need to be met by prospective licence holders, including:
- Applicants must be capable of completing a trial of 5G mmWave technology before the intended allocation of the 26 GHz band by spectrum licensing, which may be in Q3/Q4 2020.
- The proposed licence duration is up to 12 months, with the opportunity for a short renewal dependent on the timing of any auction.
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