The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, announced further details about the auction of spectrum that delivers the ‘digital dividend’.
“The auction of spectrum to deliver the digital dividend will take place in April 2013. The date has been decided on the expert advice of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA),” Senator Conroy said. “The ACMA has advised that an April 2013 auction would maximise product certainty for bidders prior to the auction and provide new licensees with adequate lead time to plan and deploy networks before their licenses commence.”
The digital dividend auction includes spectrum in the 700 MHz band as well as spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band. This spectrum will become available mainly as a result of the switch to digital-only television broadcasting by the end of 2013. A number of digital TV services will then need to be moved to new channels (or restacked) before the 700 MHz digital dividend spectrum can be made available to successful bidders.
“The release of television spectrum is one of the significant benefits of the digital switchover process. The sale of this spectrum is a unique opportunity to pave the way for next generation mobile broadband services in Australia, such as 4G mobile services,” Senator Conroy said.
The Government has appointed Broadcast Australia to develop an indicative nationwide restack timetable, in consultation with industry and the ACMA, by July 2012 with a more detailed timetable to be delivered in November. The ACMA will then complete Television Licence Area Plans containing restack windows that are consistent with these dates before proceeding to the auction.
A project and implementation manager will work with broadcasters to ensure the reorganisation of affected digital TV services starts as soon as possible. Funding has also been provided to ensure that consumers are well informed about any changes in their local area and what it means for them.