ACMA set to speed up release of 5G-friendly spectrum

Regulator mulls accelerated release of mmWave spectrum for 5G broadband services

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is considering an accelerated release of spectrum in the 26 GHz mmWave (mmW) band.

The ACMA yesterday released a consultation paper on the release of spectrum in the band for the use in 5G broadband services.

“From a spectrum perspective, 5G appears certain to use (though not exclusively) large contiguous bandwidths (hundreds of MHz or more) in millimetre wave (mmW) bands,” said the ACMA’s Five-year Spectrum Outlook 2016–20 (FYSO), released in October.

The ACMA said that a spectrum tune-up event earlier this month had heard that technology standardisation and international spectrum harmonisation were progressing rapidly, with the very real possibility that 5G broadband could be using these higher frequency bands before the end of the decade.

“Given the increasing interest both domestically and internationally, coupled with limited incumbency issues, the ACMA has proposed to use the spectrum tune-up, along with this consultation process, to assist in streamlining the early consideration of the 24.25–27.5 GHz band (the 26 GHz mmWave band) and, if supported by submissions, potentially other mmWave bands,” the consultation paper states.

“Specifically, the ACMA is proposing to use feedback obtained from the FYSO during the tune-up, and this consultation process, as part of our initial investigation of the 26 GHz mmWave band, and if appropriate, other mmWave bands. This will inform a decision on whether to progress consideration of one or more mmWave bands to the preliminary re-planning phase of the ACMA’s mobile broadband strategy.”

“Australia has a strong track record of timely review of spectrum arrangements in support of innovation in the communications industry,” acting ACMA chairperson, Richard Bean, said in a statement.

“5G in the millimetre wave bands presents a great opportunity to maintain this record so the Australian community will continue to enjoy the benefits of early uptake of new technology.”

The consultation paper is available online. The ACMA is accepting submissions until 13 October.

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