ARCIA Responds to ACMA’s Proposed Licence Fee Increase.
Back in 2012, the ACMA commissioned an independent consultant to review the value of the 400MHz band – the spectrum area where most two-way radio operates. After researching the spectrum taxes in Australia and other areas, the consultant recommended that the value being charged in Australia was not in line with other countries and recommended that it be increased. The ACMA decided that they would implement the recommendation and it would be done in a series of five increments of 15% which, with compounding costs, ends up at double the rate at the end of five years.
ARCIA argued that the rate set was from areas that were not relative to Australia, however, the ACMA pushed ahead with the proposal in 2014. Late in 2015, the ACMA put forward a discussion paper that showed there was still the need for increases and proposed the second 15% increase from April 2017. Even though ARCIA raised serious concerns regarding the calculations, the ACMA proceeded with the cost increase in April 2016.
The ACMA are now proposing to impose the next increase of a further 15% in April 2017. ARCIA are responding to this discussion paper by writing to the Minister, with copies sent to the Department of Communications Management and also the Chair of the ACMA pointing out that the underlying factors being used to justify the increase are not necessarily correct and that there is not enough transparency in the proposal. The ACMA document and other presentations have indicated that ‘as there is no evidence of a stalling in licence demand’ the increase is justified. This in effect means that until the ACMA sees licence demand drop they will continue increasing costs, regardless of the fact that a ‘stalling of demand’ translates to a significant drop in equipment sales and businesses potentially closing.
Everyone in the industry needs to be aware of this situation and get involved.
Download ARCIA’s response to the ACMA Discussion Paper on the licence fee increases proposed as part of the Opportunity Cost Pricing implementation.