Review of trading of radiofrequency licences released

Tuesday, 02 December, 2008

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is seeking public and industry comment on the effectiveness in Australia of the secondary market for radiofrequency licences.

"ACMA has released a wide-ranging discussion paper about trading of radiofrequency licences to encourage active debate and to give all stakeholders the opportunity to contribute to improving the regime that was created in the 1990s," said Chris Chapman, ACMA chairman.

"As ACMA’s instinct is to continue to move away from command and control regulation, it is vital that we have the right legislative and technical structure in place to allow spectrum to move to its highest value use."

The review considers whether trade in licences is currently being fully facilitated. Possible reforms include the provision of superior market information to traders and the furtherance of technological neutrality in licensing.

ACMA released its draft Spectrum Management Principles in April 2008. One of the draft principles was that users of spectrum should be enabled to move spectrum to its highest value use. Fully effective trading of licences would be a fundamental mechanism to assist in achieving this outcome.

Emerging market pressures make it timely for ACMA to consider whether the market in radiofrequency licences can be further improved. Improvements initiated by ACMA may involve administrative, rule-making or spectrum product-shaping changes. Other possible improvements would require action by Australian governments (state and federal).

Submissions will assist ACMA in determining what reforms it might make, consistent with its current powers. ACMA will release an implementation plan in 2009 summarising the results of this consultation process and informing the public of any change that ACMA may then implement.

The consultation paper, Spectrum Trading, is available on the ACMA website. The closing date for comment is 23 January 2009.


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