The Federal Government has put the call out for public submissions on amendments to Australia’s spectrum management framework.
Legislated under the Radiocommunications Act 1992, there is a need to update the Act as technology has “changed significantly” since the Act's conception, according a statement from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.
“The amendments will be designed to add flexibility to the legislative framework, clarify institutional roles, remove unnecessary legislative barriers and improve processes, and introduce graduated enforcement mechanisms, to ensure the spectrum management framework remains fit for purpose in a rapidly changing environment,” the Department stated.
The Bill takes some elements from, as well as feedback to, the Government’s exposure draft of the 2017 Radiocommunications Bill.
Under the proposed amendments, the maximum licence term for both apparatus and spectrum licenses have been suggested to be extended to 20 years, up from five and 15 years, respectively.
Minister involvement has been given suggested to have a lighter touch, with more powers given to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The regulatory body will provide more transparency around its spectrum management functions and have more options to deal with framework breaches than just the avenue of criminal proceedings.
Further, the amendments see ACMA with more flexibility to develop allocation arrangements to bring spectrum to market in shorter time frames, the ability to streamline device supply schemes and equipment regulation and to be able to provide exemptions for the testing, development and manufacturing of select controlled devices.
The consultation period is open until 17 July. The Government has had an ongoing focus with spectrum management reviews over the last five years. In addition to the exposure draft in 2017, reviews took place into spectrum pricing and Commonwealth-held spectrum in 2018.
Prior to this, changes to spectrum pricing had been flagged back in 2015.