ACMA a spectrum slowpoke: Optus

Summary:Optus government and corporate affairs director Maha Krishnapillai today criticised the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for taking "far too long" on spectrum decisions.

Optus government and corporate affairs director Maha Krishnapillai today criticised the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for taking "far too long" on spectrum decisions.

Maha Krishnapillai
(Credit: Slattery IT)

"When spectrum is scarce, when there is uncertainty over the re-issue price of incumbent licences and the prospect of release of new broadband mobile holdings, investment planning processes go on hold," Krishnapillai told ACMA's RadComms conference in Melbourne this morning.

"This inevitably leads to a delay in next-generation network deployment and the associated flow-on benefits to consumers and the economy.

"So from an industry perspective, I cannot underestimate the importance of a timely finalisation of various policy decisions and licensing regimes that take into account and align with commercial and technology roadmaps.

"We do not have sufficient visibility of these processes at present," he said.

Krishnapillai said that the reallocation of the 2.5GHz band was an example of this uncertainty.

The 2.5GHz spectrum is currently used by broadcasters for electronic news gathering, and a discussion paper was released earlier this year by the ACMA to see what else it could be used for, such as next-generation mobile technologies like Long-Term Evolution (LTE).

"From a mobile industry perspective, you won't be surprised to know that we believe this process has taken far too long to resolve," Krishnapillai said. "We encourage the ACMA to commit to a progress to an outcome of 2.5GHz as an absolute matter of priority."

He said that ACMA had been making some "very considerable ground" in terms of improving transparency and engagement with industry on spectrum management, but said that there was "room for improvement", particularly in regards to the timing of the decisions, "some of which are clearly under its control and some not".

Krishnapillai said that as a spectrum user, Optus would "continue to keep the ACMA on their toes" on behalf of the telecommunications industry.

Krishnapillai's comments followed similar remarks from VHA chief executive Nigel Dews.

Topics: Telcos, Government : AU, Optus

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