Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

NBN spectrum gap - Consultation on draft Direction

21 August 2014

Today the Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, released an exposure draft of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (3.5GHz frequency band) Direction 2014 for public consultation.

The draft Direction relates to the use of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, and will help the Government meet its commitment to roll out very fast broadband to all Australians, as soon as possible.

NBN Co currently holds spectrum licenses for fixed wireless broadband services in regional areas, however there is a spectrum gap for homes and businesses in areas surrounding major cities. The draft Direction works to provide the NBN with the spectrum it needs for fixed wireless services in these areas.

The proposed Direction will correct an inherited problem. It will enable the roll out of the NBN to approximately 80,000 homes and businesses located in the affected areas, as quickly as possible and at a reasonable cost to taxpayers. NBN Co will pay a market rate for the spectrum.

If enacted, the ACMA would be required to complete, by 30 April 2015, all steps necessary to enable apparatus licences of a type appropriate for use for the NBN to be issued in the 3.5 GHz band. The ACMA would also be required to take into account the Government's communications policy objectives when deciding whether to issue an apparatus licence for this spectrum.

The consultation process invites public submissions on the proposed Direction, and submissions will be accepted until 22 September 2014.

Further information on the draft Direction and how to make a submission is available from the Department of Communications website at http://www.communications.gov.au/consultation_and_submissions/nbn_spectrum

Media enquiries: Jon Dart, Office of Malcolm Turnbull MP, 0457 646 749, Jon.Dart@communications.gov.au

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