ACMA Outlines Mobile Broadband Strategy
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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has outlined its strategy for addressing the growth in mobile broadband capacity, signalling a change in approach “in the rapidly changing spectrum environment”.ACMA’s strategy, and associated February 2016 edition work plan, has been detailed in a package released today.

ACMA chairman Chris Chapman, whose 10-year tenure at the head of ACMA concludes at the end this week, noted that the need for accommodation of “growth in mobile broadband traffic has been one of the greatest challenges for the ACMA, and indeed all spectrum regulators worldwide”.

“The strategy signals a shift towards greater reliance on a contingency planning model, where the regulator plans for a range of potential outcomes in terms of mobile broadband capacity growth, but still seeks to enable the right spectrum to be made available – at the right time – depending on the scenarios that are unfolding,” Chapman commented.

“The key to such a contingency planning approach is the ability of the regulator to work with industry and the international community on a range of potential candidate bands at the same time, often over the very extended periods that are required for the development of new, harmonised spectrum uses and subsequent changes in the highest value use of those bands domestically.”

ACMA states the change in approach is intended for it “to be more flexible and responsive to the rapidly changing spectrum environment”, while in place of rigid quantitative targets, a more dynamic approach has been adopted in identifying and planning of spectrum for mobile broadband.

“The work plan provides an important indication of our forward action plans,” Chapman commented.

“This will include immediate work on the 1.5 GHz band identified for mobile broadband at last year’s World Radiocommunication Conference, as well as pressing on with the reconfiguration of the 900 MHz band.”

ACMA stated that the strategy outline and work plan were finalised following a comprehensive industry consultation process, including a discussion paper, Beyond 2020 – A spectrum management strategy to address the growth in mobile broadband capacity, released in September last year.