ACMA updates: 3.8 GHz AWLs and 800 MHz spectrum change reminder

Wednesday, 05 July, 2023

ACMA updates: 3.8 GHz AWLs and 800 MHz spectrum change reminder

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) currently has a consultation paper out on the start of allocating area-wide apparatus licences (AWLs) in the 3.8 GHz band. Initially the allocations will be in remote areas but later this year they will extend into regional and urban areas as well. This is one of the first times that spectrum has been set aside specifically for private LTE systems, or local area wireless broadband (LA-WBB) in the ACMA terminology. Details are available on the ACMA website and consultations close on 1 August.

Additionally, holders of spectrum for 800 MHz trunked radio systems are once again reminded that they need to have plans in place to shift frequencies as part of the review of the 850 MHz band. In addition to the trunked radio channels there have also been fixed links in the same band, often linking two locations with LMR services. These services will also have to apply for new frequencies; some have been two-frequency services and some simplex services.

Under the review of the bands there has also been a change to the application criteria; from now on the 800 MHz fixed link services must have a link path of more than 20 km or other frequency bands must be utilised. Also contained within the old 800 MHz band were multiple SCADA systems, many involving telemetry for gas and electric utilities; these will also need to have frequency shifts, so if you know of clients/users with these systems please check that they have arrangements in place to shift frequencies. They must be clear of existing frequencies before the middle of next year.

If there is any doubt, please contact an ACMA accredited person who can check and advise.

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