Issue No 8: 24 March 2022



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  • ACOMMS 2022 - Save the date! 25 August 2022

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Australia Urged to Promote Satellite-Based Mobile Broadband to Support People and Goods on the Move

Australia’s space sector has urged Government and regulators to harness the benefits of new earth station technologies to help Australians stay connected to high-speed broadband while ‘on the move’.

A paper released today by the Satellite Services Working Group (SSWG) of Communications Alliance points to the capabilities of Earth Stations in Motion (ESIM) that are being used by airlines around the world to provide broadband connectivity on thousands of aircraft, by the maritime sector on cargo, tanker, ferry and passenger vessels, and for public and private transportation on trains, buses, emergency response vehicles and other motor vehicles.

By 2035, global broadband connectivity on aircraft will create a $130 Billion economic ecosystem for airlines, content providers, retail goods suppliers, hotel and car suppliers, and advertisers. Global shipping and passenger vessels rely on ESIM technology for broadband communications, benefiting passengers and crew and facilitating the transportation of cargo.

The paper focuses on the use of ESIM connected to geostationary satellites and operating in the Ku-Band frequency bands between 12 and 18 gigahertz (GHz).

John Stanton CEO. Communications Alliance said, “There is growing demand to provide passengers and crew with broadband connectivity in the air and at sea, whether to stream entertainment and news services, or to support supply chain resilience and efficiencies. Australia must capitalise on this demand today to meet changing expectations and to reap the economic benefits this growing market is set to deliver.”

The SSWG paper encourages the Federal Government and the Australian regulator – the ACMA – to incorporate measures within the domestic regulatory framework to promote the deployment of ESIM in the 13 GHz band for aeronautical and maritime broadband services.

According to the SSWG, these measures will further assist Australian airlines such as Virgin Australia, Qantas, Jetstar and Rex, as well as commercial international airlines flying into and out of Australia to provide value-added services that meet the expectations of airline end-users, including passengers and flight crew.

In 2019 the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC) of the global regulator (the international Telecommunications Union, or ITU) initiated studies on the potential operation of earth stations on aircraft and vessels communicating with geostationary satellites in the frequency band 12.75 – 13.25 GHz (Earth-to-space).

These studies and resulting coordination of spectrum allocations in adjacent bands are designed to ensure that ESIM can operate at full effectiveness and without interfering with – or suffering interference from – other communications technologies and applications.

The SSWG paper encourages the ACMA to facilitate the introduction of these services by supporting the ITU-R studies on Ku Band GSO ESIM. The communications satellite companies that make up the SSWG believe that Australia could play an important role in the development of ITU studies on Ku Band GSO ESIM in relevant Australian and international working parties in the lead-up to the next World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-23) in 2023.

New Regulations on Superfast Broadband Now in Place

The Federal Government’s Telecommunications Amendment (Local Access Lines—Class Exemptions) Regulations 2022 have been approved by the Governor-General and published on the Federal Register of Legislation

When read together, the new Regulations and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Telecommunications (Superfast Broadband Network Class Exemption) Amendment Determination 2021 (No. 1) exempt controllers of superfast fixed-line broadband networks servicing fewer than 12,000 residential customers from having to separate their wholesale and retail businesses.

The Government says this is expected to provide an incentive for smaller superfast broadband infrastructure providers to enter the market and compete with established fixed-line businesses, including NBN Co. In summary, it provides regulatory relief for small network operators, which we hope is a welcome development.

A copy of the Instrument is available here.

Improving the ACMA’s Radiocommunications Assignment and Licensing Instructions

The ACMA has consulted on several potential changes to the coordination and coexistence arrangements in the Radiocommunications Assignment and Licensing Instruction RALI MS46 and other related policy documents. RALI MS46 provides instructions on licensing and coordination procedures for Area-Wide Licence (AWL) services in the 26 and 28 GHz spectrum bands. The aim of these changes is to improve the understanding and operation of these technical arrangements.

The Communications Alliance Satellite Services Working Group (SSWG) provided a submission urging the ACMA to align the protection requirements imposed on uncoordinated Fixed Satellite Services (FSS) operation with the AWL framework as per the response submitted by the SSWG to the recent ACMA Proposed licensing arrangements for 2 GHz narrowband mobile-satellite services and 28 GHz fixed-satellite services consultation. The paper also identifies possible inconsistencies in uplink and downlink frequency bands in the Geostationary and Non-Geostationary Orbit (GSO and NGSO) tables relating to the Mingenew and Uralla Earth Station Protection zones.

Current Consultations

Below is a list of currently open telecommunications-related consultations being conducted by Government and other organisations that provide an opportunity for you to have your say.

Communications Alliance members interested in contributing to an industry submission (if one is being developed in response to a specific consultation) should contact us.

ConsultationOrganisationClosing Date
Draft Five-year spectrum outlook 2022–27 (FYSO)
Proposed spectrum re-allocation declaration for the 3.4 GHz and 3.7 GHz bands
Apparatus licences in the 3.4–4.0 GHz band in remote Australia - Licensing, allocation process, technical framework and pricing arrangementsACMA27/04/2022
Positioning Australia as a Leader in Digital Economy Regulation, Automated Decision Making and AI Regulation
Security information obligations for carriers and eligible carriage service providers
Digital platform services inquiry 2020-2025
Consumer Data Right rules and standards design paper for telecommunications sectorTreasury29/03/2022
Compliance priorities 2022–23 – consultation 09/2022 | ACMA
TIO TOR – Device and equipment guidance

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