New Ministerial Policy Statement for expiring spectrum licences

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) must have regard to how it can promote greater competition, support the continuity of services and support greater investment in rural and regional Australia as part of a new Ministerial Policy Statement (MPS) for expiring spectrum licences issued today.
The MPS sets out policy priorities of the Government that the regulator must have regard to in performing its spectrum management functions and exercising its spectrum management powers with respect to the expiring spectrum licences (ESLs). The new Statement applies for licences due to expire between 2028 and 2032.
The MPS sets out five key communications policy objectives that the ACMA must have regard to, including:

  • supporting service continuity for end users, particularly where no alternative service is available;
  • facilitating opportunities for new entrants and use cases, including for low earth orbit satellites;
  • connectivity and investment in regional and remote areas to deliver improved services to end users;
  • promote competition; and
  • capacity for sustained investment and innovation

The ESLs span a number of frequency bands and are used for a diverse range of applications, including mobile and fixed wireless broadband, rail safety and communications, and electronic news gathering for broadcast services. 
The MPS, which was informed by consultation with stakeholders, is specifically targeted at the ESLs currently used for mobile and fixed wireless broadband services.
Spectrum is a finite resource which is critical for delivering a wide range of services. The future use of the frequency bands included in the ACMA’s ESL process will have long-term impacts for the Australian communications sector and the everyday Australians who use their services.
While the MPS is not intended to apply to ESLs currently being used for electronic news gathering and rail safety and communications, these licences will still be subject to the ACMA’s comprehensive process and public interest criteria.
For information about the ACMA’s proposed approach to manage the expiring spectrum licences and how you can provide views on the current and future uses of these bands visit:  

To access the Ministerial Policy Statement Instrument visit:  Federal Register of Legislation - Radiocommunications (Ministerial Policy Statement – Expiring Spectrum Licences) Instrument 2024 
Quotes attributable to Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:
“Spectrum underpins countless aspects of modern life. That’s why its management is so critical to governments and regulators.

“This new Ministerial policy statement provides stakeholders with greater clarity around the Government’s policy objectives for the expiring spectrum licences process, and a strategic direction for the ACMA in reaching its decisions.
“Our focus is ensuring this process delivers outcomes that are in the long-term public interest.
“Thank you to industry and other stakeholders for their constructive engagement on this important process.”