AMTA welcomes Federal Government’s ESO spectrum allocation


AMTA welcomes Federal Government’s ESO spectrum allocation
October 30, 2012
The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement of the allocation of additional spectrum in the 800 MHz and 4.9 GHz bands for Emergency Services Organisations (ESOs).
AMTA Chief Executive Officer, Chris Althaus, said industry supports yesterday’s announcement by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, and Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, to allocate 10MHz of spectrum in the 800 MHz band.
“This allocation provides regionally-harmonised spectrum for ESOs to conduct their operations at times of disasters or national emergencies in a spectrum band earmarked by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for public protection and disaster relief in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.
Mr Althaus also noted that the 800 MHz allocation is complemented by the re-farming of spectrum for ESO use in the 400MHz band and plans for the allocation of a further 50 MHz of spectrum for ESO use in the 4.9 GHz band, which would be ideal for high bandwidth video requirements at the scene of an emergency.
“The mobile telecommunications industry has a strong track record of partnership with ESOs and mobile operators have delivered key communications needs for ESOs at times of crisis, including restoring and recovering public communications across Australia during times of emergency and disaster,” he said.
“Industry’s successful partnership with ESOs will continue during critical times of emergency where local operators leverage the billions of dollars invested in mobile and fixed network infrastructure around Australia to provide capacity, coverage and services for delivery of emergency services, including the use of emergency mobile cells.”
AMTA considers the Federal Government’s allocation of 10 MHz of 800MHz spectrum to be adequate, especially considering that Australian carriers have launched national 3G networks based on this level of spectrum allocation.
Mr Althaus said: “However, following the Federal Government’s spectrum announcement AMTA notes the need for careful cost considerations, given the significant sums of billions of dollars required to build, operate and maintain a standalone public safety network.”
Against this background, Mr Althaus noted the commentary from some quarters suggesting that the identified quantity of spectrum is insufficient and ESOs will lack the capacity to meet future emergency challenges. He reiterated the obvious huge capacity gains that can be achieved by partnering with Australia’s mobile and fixed industry in order to meet these challenges.
For more information contact Randal Markey, AMTA, (02) 6239 6555 or 0421 240 550