ACMA announces a new ‘Very Low Power’ licensing option.
For many years, low power radio services were allocated frequencies based on a frequency re-use distance of 10km, and this has been the basis for most small systems that have been licensed.
During the past year the ACMA held a review of the licensing systems and ARCIA lobbied for the implementation of an even smaller frequency re-use range—a ‘Very Low Power’ (VLP) model.
Our position was that many services in the major CBD areas were really only designed to operate within a specific building, or no more than a couple of hundred metres at most, yet the present allocation model has meant that the frequency could not be re-allocated for a distance of 10km. The ACMA recognised our proposal as being based on common sense and that it would be a means of obtaining more efficient use of the spectrum. As such, the review has now indicated that the new VLP model will be accepted for LMR services, with an annual fee set at a 95% discount to the normal LMR licence fee—this is half the present rate for low power services.
It is important that as we provide new services in the major CBD areas that we look to meeting the VLP model so that other services can be licensed nearby, a benefit to our industry. We will also be working with the ACMA to try and find a way to encourage existing low power licensees to transfer to the VLP model to gain better spectrum utilisation.