Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull drafted a direction that the fixed spectrum for fixed wireless services under the National Broadband Network (NBN) would get access to 3.5GHz.
Turnbull hopes that the draft direction “will help the Government meet its commitment to roll out very fast broadband to all Australians, as soon as possible,” Turnbull said in a statement to the press.
“The draft Direction works to provide the NBN with the spectrum it needs for fixed wireless services in these areas.”
The ACMA recently recommended NBN use of area-wide apparatus licenses within the 3.5GHz band after NBN Co released in May, its Fixed Wireless and Satellite Review.
“NBN Co has access to two spectrum bands, 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz in much of regional and remote Australia. NBN Co holds up to 98MHz of spectrum in the 2.3GHz band – which is used for the NBN Co TD-LTE fixed wireless access network – and up to 100MHz in the 3.4GHz band, which is currently unutilised.” According to that review.
It can be noted that NBN Co purchased 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum licences from AUSTAR in February 2011. In the same year, it picked up further licences for 2.3GHz at an auction.
The review stated: “NBN Co recently accepted an offer from the ACMA to re-issue its 2.3GHz spectrum licences through to July 2030 at a cost of $22.6 million. Spectrum licences in the 3.4GHz band are due to expire in December 2015,”
“Although NBN Co has sufficient bandwidth for its products, currently it does not hold spectrum for approximately 320 of the 2,400 fixed wireless sites initially scoped as required… The spectrum gap affects around 80,000 premises.”
Public submissions are being encouraged by the Department of Communications on the plant until the public submission cutoff of September 22, 2014.
The draft direction hopes to fix the spectrum gaps between businesses and homes under the NBN Fixed Wireless for the areas around the metropolitan areas.