Govt all dollars and sense on spectrum

Govt all dollars and sense on spectrum

Summary: It sounds like the Australian Competition and Consumer commission and the Australian Communications and Media Authority is already thinking hard about what how they are going to make sure that carriers don't dupe the government out of all the lovely money it's expecting from the digital dividend spectrum auction.

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It sounds like the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) are already thinking hard about what how they are going to make sure that carriers don't dupe the government out of all the lovely money it's expecting from the digital dividend spectrum auction.

The 700MHz spectrum, which is to be auctioned off next year, is to be the backbone for mobile carriers' 4G networks. They've been slavering over the spectrum band, even as emergency services have been yelling that they need some too for their emergency networks. All this interest has dollar signs in the government's eyes, which has thought carefully about exactly what kind of auction process it would have, finally deciding on a Combinatorial Clock Auction format to wring as much money as possible out of bidders while supplying them with just those blocks of spectrum they wanted.

According to Communications Day, Paul Zawa, general manager of the ACCC's enforcement and compliance division, said that the commission was going to be on the lookout for cartel behaviour such as collusive tendering and price fixing.

Meanwhile, the ACMA is reportedly setting up rules that limit the amount of communication between those involved in the auction process. Companies that don't play by those rules would not be awarded any spectrum and would lose their deposits.

Today the Opposition is licking its lips over a Deloitte statement, which predicts weak revenues driven by lower company profits and a soft job market that will lead to the government needing to take desperate measures to bring the budget into surplus by 2013. In light of this, the thought of incoming revenue from the spectrum auction must be comforting to the government. So it doesn't surprise me that government agencies will fight tooth and nail to get every penny they can.

Topics: Government, Government AU, Telcos, Tech Industry

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • Let all be particularly vigilant, with the Gillard desperation to return the Budget to surplus, that those in the industry are not bludgeoned and blackmailed into submission with costs for spectrum so excessive as to cause their demise.

    In the past we have witnessed unbelievable threat from Government to hold companies hostage and subject to serious damage should the Government bidding not be accepted and let us be vigilant to ensure this blackmail does not reappear with the spectrum sale.

    Those with a vital interest must unite and vigorously oppose any attempt to esculate the price of the spectrum beyond that which is fair and reasonable and not allow themselves to become milking cows for a cash strapped government.
    sydneyla
  • LOL Another example of the government thinking that they are smarter than the their own IT Industry.
    Example. Telstra is already selling 4G LTE services on the 1800Mhz bandwith without paying a cent to the government because they already owned the bandwith, which were used for 2G services prior.
    Other telcos can easily follow.

    It is always concearning when the governement thinks its smarter than most of the people they are educating in the first place?
    cootified