24 December 2020

On Thursday 10 December, the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP made a notice designating parts of the 3.4 GHz band for spectrum licensing. The areas and frequencies covered by the notice encompass apparatus licences held by NBN Co.

The notice will allow the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to convert NBN Co’s apparatus licences to spectrum licences facilitating defragmentation of the 3.4 GHz band. NBN Co uses this spectrum to provide fixed-wireless services in regional and outer-metropolitan areas.

The designation notice will support these services by creating a more flexible spectrum management environment in the band that will facilitate more efficient allocation and use of this spectrum. The notice will extend the coverage of spectrum licensing in the band, reducing barriers to licence trading and allowing licensees to increase the contiguity of their spectrum holdings in the band. With greater contiguity, licensees will be able to use their spectrum more efficiently and deliver better services for consumers.

Following the defragmentation of spectrum licences in the band, NBN Co has undertaken to relinquish its underutilised in spectrum in inner-metropolitan areas, and ACMA will make this spectrum available for licensing by other operators, subject to the development of appropriate interference management criteria and assessment of the utility of the spectrum.

The Minister has also directed ACMA on the spectrum access charges payable by NBN Co for spectrum licences it will receive as part of this process.

Consultation was undertaken by the Department in September and October 2020 to inform the Minister on making the designation. Submissions are available at the link below.

Find out more: