Government’s Digital Dividend decision maximises national economic benefits

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) welcomes the Federal Government’s decision to maximise national economic benefits by allocating 126 MHz of broadcasting spectrum as the Digital Dividend.

 

In announcing this critical decision, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, clearly recognises the importance of new spectrum to support the growing role of mobile telecommunications in Australia’s digital economy.

 

AMTA’s Chief Executive Officer, Chris Althaus, said: “The mobile telecommunications industry needs timely access to sufficient spectrum to ensure the deployment of new and competitive mobile broadband technologies, such as Long-Term Evolution, which will significantly enhance the mobile broadband experience for users, who will be able to access more performance demanding applications and peak download speeds of up to at least 100Mbps.

 

“The Digital Dividend provides a unique generational opportunity to earmark nation-building infrastructure for next generation mobile broadband use that will be a key contributor in driving productivity growth and enhancing Australia’s full participation in the digital economy.

 

“An efficient, fair and well-balanced allocation of Digital Dividend spectrum between mobile telecommunication and broadcasting industries will ensure that Australia can reap the full economic and social benefits from the Digital Dividend.”

 

AMTA last year commissioned a report by Spectrum Value Partners that found that the Australian economy would be boosted by up to $10 billion if at least 120MHz of useable spectrum unlocked from the Digital Dividend was made available for mobile broadband use.

 

The spectrum released by the Digital Dividend in and around the 700MHz band offers an excellent balance between transmission capacity and distance coverage.

 

Mr Althaus said demand for mobile broadband was growing significantly with predictions of the number of broadband subscriptions passing 50% of the population size in 2012.

 

 

 

“There’s no question with current growth in mobile broadband and mobile data traffic volumes, that without new spectrum resources there will be potential capacity constraints on the networks,” he said.

 

 

“The mobile industry in Australia is ready to further invest in advanced mobile broadband technologies. AMTA looks forward to working with Government to progress the process of clearance, auction and restacking to achieve the Digital Dividend of 126 MHz. The timing of the completion of restack will dictate when the spectrum can be used.

 

“The mobile industry also looks forward to the Government finalising its position on the 2.5GHz band, which in partnership with the Digital Dividend, represents vital new spectrum needed for industry to meet demand for next generation services.”

 

A report released last week further highlighted the growing importance of mobile broadband in boosting Australia’s productivity performance. An Access Economics report, Economic Contribution of Mobile Telecommunications in Australia, found that the mobile telecommunications industry contributed $17.4 billion to the Australian economy last year with the rapid uptake of mobile data services, including mobile broadband, delivering productivity gains across the entire economy.

 

The report says that the key productivity-enabling role of mobile technology had a $10.7 billion indirect flow-on to the wider economy in 2008-09 compared to the industry’s direct economic impact of $6.7 billion.

 

For more information contact Randal Markey, AMTA Communications Manager, (02) 6239 6555 or 0421 240 550