Radio towers

Update on 803-960 MHz radiofrequency band

Helen Henry, 23rd November 2015
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On 19 November, the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA), released decisions on its long-term strategy for the 803-960 MHz band.

A key impact of the reforms will be the progressive clearance of some services over the next decade to allow for allocation of the 850 MHz ‘expansion’ band for mobile broadband services. These decisions affect a number of community radio stations that use part of this band (845-852 MHz) for studio-to-transmitter linking (STL).

This matter has been under consideration for some time, and stations have been made aware that some contraction of the band was likely. The CBAA has advocated on behalf of stations throughout the review.

The CBAA’s activity has resulted in some of the band being retained for community broadcasting. The result, so far, seems to be that only the top part of the band using for STLs will now be affected and, based on current timing, as from 2018.  Specifically, STLs operating in the 849-852 MHz band will no longer be supported - however - STLs in the 845-849 MHz band will continue to be supported.

The ACMA has acknowledged that a shift to alternative linking solutions will increase costs, and notes that this will be felt most by community radio stations. The CBAA has worked to make the case for funding support in this transition, noting that the transition by non-profit community radio broadcasters will make way for providers of mobile broadband telecommunications services, operating on a for profit basis. In previous bids to government, a transition fund of $2.2M pa over 5 years has been sought.

The CBAA will continue to advocate on this issue as the ACMA provides further details about timing and rollout in the coming months. 

For more information, see the ACMA website.

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