Spectrum and skills on the agenda in NZ

Spectrum and skills on the agenda in NZ

The RFUANZ committee is pleased to announce that New Zealand's Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media has agreed to end the moratorium imposed on the 800 MHz band. Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) advised it will be updating the Statement of Government Policy and Directions to the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment soon. In the meantime, the 800 MHz band is now available for new and long-term licences.

The TS (800 MHz) band supports many industrial and enterprise users across New Zealand. The enterprise and government users in this band contribute to a significant percentage of our economic prosperity and citizen safety. A moratorium was issued in 2016 on this band preventing any future long-term licensing without specific prior written approval from RSM. RFUANZ has engaged with RSM regularly on this topic on behalf of some of the key stakeholders utilising this band in order to open it back up for short- and long-term licensing, and to allow it to be better utilised for national economic benefit.

To date we have no way of confirming how many radios that use this band have been sold; however, the lifting of the moratorium has enabled two major users to progress with large infrastructure projects. This has been a small victory for RFUANZ, but a major achievement for the industry.

G band or 174–184 MHz was made available to the radio industry after careful deliberation of all major users of the spectrum, in conjunction with RSM. A significant effort by RFUANZ was put into the 174–230 MHz spectrum with a number of face-to-face meetings with RSM and radio industry spectrum users to prepare the final submission which led to this outcome.

This band is now available for licensing use with efficient digital technology; however, to date there has been little uptake. Our challenge, now, is to get the industry and manufacturers to utilise this new spectrum. Going forward we are aware of the global trend and need for allocation in New Zealand of spectrum for private LTE.

Another challenge faced in the New Zealand radio industry is attracting youth to undertake training. RFUANZ now offers a Level 3 installers course, run in conjunction with E-tec and the Manukau Institute of Technology. We are also conscious of seeking replacements of our long-standing consultants/radio engineers in the industry. Their knowledge and expertise is invaluable, therefore training youth is imperative for the future of radio in New Zealand.

RFUANZ recently held two very successful breakfast forums in Auckland and Christchurch, presented by Daniel Ephraty, Director of Sales Engineering at Siklu Communication (United Kingdom). We are now very keen to undertake similar forums and are seeking informative topics from the industry for consideration. Some suggestions include an RSM question and answer forum, robotic development, simulcast technology, and telcos — the next wave of communication. Our biggest challenge is finding experienced speakers available to present such topics. If you have any suggestions, we would love to hear from you.

Corey Weir

Chairman, RFUANZ

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