Submissions open until 21 July 2023 for review of Public Safety Class Licence 4.9 Ghz band
Back in 2013, the ACMA allocated 50 MHz of spectrum at 4.9 GHz for public safety purposes, and under the Legislation a Class Licence was initiated for access to that spectrum. With a Class Licence, they must be reviewed and renewed every ten years, so the present licence expires in October of this year (2023). The Class Licence permits access to the spectrum by suitable equipment without needing a specific licence or paying any fees, so it is ideal for local communications systems for emergency use.
As part of the review, the ACMA are indicating that they believe that the licence should be renewed but they are also suggesting that the permitted uses should be increased to include wireless broadband under 5G/LTE formats. The documentation for the review is available on the ACMA website and the enquiry is open for submissions until 21 July 2023.
In general terms, ARCIA supports the proposals put forward as part of the discussion paper and will be putting a submission in as part of the process. We suggest that any interested parties should respond and give the ACMA as wide a range of opinions as possible. If you are not able to put in a submission but would like to contribute, please feel free to speak to ARCIA and we will see if we can include your thoughts in our industry response.
There are a couple of items included in the discussion questions relating to the permission to use fixed stations in the band, specifically that if they are going to be in place for more than six months then they should be licensed under the Apparatus License format. There is also the mention that utilisation of the 4.9 GHz public safety band is restricted to organisations or members of recognised emergency services or the Defence forces. These organisations can authorise someone to operate equipment on their behalf, but the authorisation is only valid for six months and must then be re-authorised again.
The 4.9 GHz band is especially valuable to our public safety agencies and even now they are only starting to recognise the options available and how they will assist in future emergency situations. ARCIA firmly believes that utilised correctly the options will vastly improve both safety ad operations of our emergency services and we strongly recommend interested parties should respond to this discussion process.