Enhanced protection for quiet zone

Thursday, 04 August, 2011

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has enhanced the radio quiet protections for the Mid West Radio Quiet Zone (RQZ) in remote Western Australia (near Boolardy Station), around 200 km east of Meekatharra.

The RQZ was established in 2005 to provide an environment that protects highly sensitive equipment, used for radio astronomy, from unwanted radiocommunications signals.

These arrangements protect the radio telescopes currently in place at the Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory, as well as those proposed in the Australian-New Zealand bid to host the square kilometre array (SKA).

"A clear regulatory framework to support radio quiet arrangements will further assist Australia to create the world’s best radioastronomy facility," said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. "This will provide a platform that should be ideal for future radioastronomy projects, including the €1.5 billion SKA project."

Mr Chapman said the new protection measures provide greater clarity and certainty to the arrangements that protect radioastronomy services in the RQZ.

"The new measures continue to provide for radio quiet while supporting the use of spectrum by other users and placing the lowest feasible burden on industry in the region," said Mr Chapman.

He said the new protection measures will not significantly change the nature of spectrum access and radio quiet arrangements in the Mid West RQZ.

"This will enhance protection for the RQZ by upgrading the existing statements of ACMA administrative practice to more formal regulation," Mr Chapman said.

The ACMA has released a response to submissions paper that outlines the rationale behind the final package of measures. 

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