Australia issues draft guidelines for digital dividend auction

Australia’s telecoms regulator, The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), has issued draft guidelines as it prepares to allocate spectrum for its ‘digital dividend auction’. The regulator is selling spectrum licences for blocks in the 700 MHz and 2.5 GHz bands in the biggest spectrum sale to be held in the country in a decade.

The 700Mhz spectrum will be sold in nine 10MHz blocks and will cover the entire country, while the 2.5Ghz spectrum will be sold in 14 lots broken into 11 regional blocks.

“Publishing the draft rules is a key milestone for the ACMA in preparing for the auction,” said Giles Tanner, general manager of the ACMA’s digital transition division. “Over the past months, we have been actively engaging with stakeholders – I’m pleased that we have their buy-in on the approach we’re taking.”

Stakeholders have until Wednesday, 9 May 2012, to submit their responses to the draft rules. The ACMA will also be hosting a webinar for stakeholders on Tuesday, 24 April 2012, to give an opportunity for interested parties to ask questions about the draft rules. A further discussion paper will be published in the second quarter of this year, which will focus on licence commencement matters, including when the spectrum will become available.

“We are listening to stakeholders to get their views on how we can maximise product certainty for prospective bidders,” Tanner added.

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