Availability of spectrum for public protection and disaster relief
This chapter examines the availability of spectrum for use by emergency
service organisations (ESOs) for both narrowband and broadband public
protection and disaster relief (PPDR) radiocommunications.
Narrowband radiocommunications refers to voice communications, for
example two-way radio. ESOs in Australia typically use spectrum in the 400 MHz
band for their narrowband voice communications.
Broadband radiocommunications refers to data communications, such as
mobile internet used to transmit photos, videos and maps. The possible future
use of spectrum in the 700 MHz band or 800 and 900 MHz bands for broadband
radiocommunications by ESOs is the subject of much of this chapter.
ESOs were of the view they required dedicated broadband spectrum, in
addition to their current narrowband spectrum allocations, to meet their needs
as technology advances and data requirements increase. Some ESOs argued
strongly for spectrum from the digital dividend (700 MHz band) whilst others
were undecided about whether spectrum from the 700 MHz band or 800 and 900 MHz
bands should be allocated for PPDR in Australia, so long as a suitable
allocation of broadband spectrum is made. Telecommunication organisations contested
the suggestion that ESOs required dedicated broadband spectrum for PPDR radiocommunications
and opined that the 700 MHz band should be allocated to telecommunications
companies for commercial use.
Use of the 400 MHz band and
interoperability of voice communications
At present, the 400 MHz band is used by federal, state and territory ESOs
for narrowband radiocommunications. The police, fire and ambulance services in
every state and territory except Tasmania, as well as the Australian Federal
Police (AFP) and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs),
currently use spectrum in this band (see Figure 2). The Tasmanian police
service uses spectrum in the 800 MHz band.
Figure 2—Overview of
existing voice radiocommunications used by federal, state and territory
Source: courtesy of the ACMA
Narrowband spectrum such as in the 400 MHz band, can be used for voice
communications but cannot be used effectively for data radiocommunications
because the size of each spectrum allocation is too small to enable the
transmission of large files such as photos, videos and maps. Motorola Solutions
explained why narrowband spectrum should not be used for data applications:
...a system that makes use of 20 MHz of spectrum (10 MHz for
the downlink and 10 MHz for the uplink, or 10+10 MHz) will have more bandwidth
available on a per-sector basis than a system that deploys a total of 10 MHz of
bandwidth (a 5+5-MHz system). The difference is roughly 50%; that is, in a
20-MHz system, the network operator will have twice the available bandwidth
than a network operator that builds out a system in only 10 MHz of spectrum.
The consequence of insufficient spectrum is restricted
capacity, which combined with high demand, causes network congestion. For
applications, this means sluggish behaviour or outright failures. Beyond
sluggish performance in congestion situations, there is also the high likelihood
that networks simply have to drop packets of data. Packets arrive at a base
station over a high-speed connection such as fiber but then the base station
forwards the packets using the slower radio connection. If there are too many
incoming packets the inevitable result is that the base station, or
infrastructure nodes prior to the base station, will drop or significantly
Consequences of such congestion are not just slower
performance but also application failures. Most communications protocols
implement timeouts on their operations, including Transmission Control Protocol
(TCP) itself, the packet‐transport
protocol used in the Internet to provide reliable end‐to‐end
delivery. With large delays or dropped packets, communications protocols
attempt to deliver data reliably, but at some level of congestion, they can no
longer cope properly, and applications will either indicate a failure, or worse
yet, require an application or full‐system
The AFP and Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA)
indicated that ESOs have a growing need for broadband spectrum as they
implement increasingly sophisticated tools, for example automated number plate
recognition and 'biometric infield wireless radio detection systems', for which
narrowband spectrum is unsuitable.
The AFP explained that Australian police services (state, territory and
federal) would continue to use 400 MHz spectrum for voice communications and
were seeking to achieve interoperability:
Apart from us all trying to move towards something in the
next five years, on the voice side, with ACMA, we are looking at harmonisation
across the 400-megahertz spectrum, which involves all voice communications. We
are trying to do our best to harmonise all the equipment in the spectrum
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) confirmed that
ESOs are moving towards interoperability of voice communications in the
400 MHz band:
...we now have an agreement between all the states and
territories to move towards interoperability for narrowband communications in
accordance with a COAG plan. That plan will come into being around mid-2020.
That is its final date. The reason it is so far out is that some states, such
as Tasmania, have bought equipment and are operating in other bands. Tasmania
operates in part of the  megahertz band, not the 700. The 700 is purely
full of television broadcasting at the moment. So they are a bit higher up—they
are actually in the  megahertz band—and they use narrowband. Western
Australia is in the 500 megahertz band.
We want all of the states eventually to be in the 400
megahertz band, but we understand that they are all in different places in
their procurement cycles and it would be unreasonable for us to expect them to
shut off equipment that still has a reasonable life. The plan is flexible, but
we would expect that sometime between 2015 and 2020 all of those states and
territories come into the 400 megahertz band for their narrowband
communications and operate within the parameters of the COAG agreement. This
has been agreed at COAG but it has also been agreed by the NCCGR, the National
Coordination Committee for Government Radiocommunications.
Both Tasmania and Western Australia operate in different
bands but they will come back into the 400 megahertz band...
The committee recognises the need for nation-wide interoperability of
narrowband voice radiocommunications systems to enable effective communication
between state, territory and federal ESOs during times of emergency. The need
for interoperability has been acutely demonstrated by the difficulties
encountered during, and lessons learnt following recent natural disasters. The committee
supports the COAG agreement to achieve interoperability of ESO narrowband voice
radiocommunications in the 400 MHz band, and recommends that this is achieved
as soon as practicable, noting the constraints necessitated by jurisdictional
2.11 The committee recommends that interoperability of narrowband voice
radiocommunications between federal, state and territory emergency service
organisations is achieved as soon as practicable and that all services
attending major incidents be compelled to maintain a common emergency
communications platform to ensure seamless real time communication from and to
the Incident Controller.
Current use of the 700 MHz band
As discussed briefly in Chapter 1, the 700 MHz band is currently used for
analog free-to-air television. However, as Australia switches to digital
television, radiofrequency spectrum from 694 to 820 MHz will become vacant. It
is the federal government's intention to auction 2x45 MHz of this spectrum
during the second half of 2012.
Use of the 800 and 900 MHz bands
Radiofrequency spectrum from 820–890 MHz in the 800 MHz band and 890–960
MHz in the 900 MHz band is currently used for:
- land mobile;
- cellular mobile telephone service (CMTS);
- fixed point to point (P2P);
- cordless telephone service (CTS);
- digital CMTS;
- industrial, scientific, medical (ISM);
- radio-location; and
- digital short range radio (DSRR).
As discussed in Chapter 1, the ACMA is currently conducting a review of
the 800 and 900 MHz bands (the "900 MHz band review"). This review
includes consideration of 'the possibility of using the 900 MHz expansion
band for public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) radiocommunication
International use of spectrum
700 MHz spectrum
United States of America
The United States of America (USA) has announced its intention to deploy
a public safety mobile broadband network in the 700 MHz band.
In July 2007, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the
700 MHz Second Report and Order that established:
...a regulatory framework for the
700 MHz public safety band to facilitate the establishment of a nationwide,
interoperable broadband communications network for the benefit of state and
local public safety users. The FCC allocated 10 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum for an
advanced, public safety broadband network to be implemented by a public/private
partnership. The parties are required to adopt, subject to ultimate FCC
approval, a broadband standard with a nationwide level of interoperability.
The 700 MHz Second Report and Order allocated sections of the 700
MHz Public Safety Band (763–768/793–798 MHz) for broadband communications.
The FCC also established a single nationwide "Public Safety
Broadband License" (PSBL) for the 700 MHz public safety broadband
On 19 November 2007 the Commission assigned this licence to the Public
Safety Spectrum Trust Corporation (PSSTC). The FCC stated:
The PSBL and...commercial licensee will form a Public
Safety/Private Partnership to develop a shared, nationwide interoperable
network for both commercial and public safety users. This network will provide
public safety entities access to new broadband technologies across the country.
The public safety broadband network will facilitate effective
communications among first responders not just in emergencies, but as part of
cooperative communications plans that will enable first responders from
different disciplines, such as police and fire departments, and jurisdictions
to work together in emergency preparedness and response.
Under the Partnership, the PSBL will have priority access to
the commercial spectrum in times of emergency, and the commercial licensee will
have pre-emptible, secondary access to the public safety broadband spectrum.
Providing for shared infrastructure will help achieve significant cost
efficiencies while maximizing public safety’s access to interoperable broadband
The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
(DBCDE) and the ACMA advised the committee that the band plan in which the US
700 MHz public safety mobile broadband network has been allocated is not in
alignment with the 700 MHz band plan adopted in Australia. As a result, DBCDE
and ACMA stated that US 700 MHz public safety equipment (for example handsets) would
not be able to operate in Australia even if ESOs were allocated a portion of
the 700 MHz band in Australia.
The Asia-Pacific Telecommunity Wireless Group (AWG) has been considering
harmonisation of the 700 MHz band planning arrangements in the Asia Pacific
The AWG's proposal for harmonisation of the 700 MHz band includes a guard band
from 803–806 MHz which means (given the difference in Australian digital
dividend arrangements compared to other Asia Pacific countries):
...a decrease in the size of the guard band at the upper boundary
of the 700 MHz plan can also be considered in Australia. This would enable additional
spectrum to be included in the expansion of the 900 MHz band [in Australia].
800 and 900 MHz spectrum
United States of America
According to the ACMA, arrangements in some parts of the 800 and 900 MHz
bands in the USA 'have some similarities to those in Australia'.
The 806–824 MHz segment together with 851–869 MHz segment are allocated
to the Public Safety Radio Service for emergency dispatch, two-way voice
communications, mobile repeaters, interoperability and secondary fixed links.
The 824–849 MHz paired with 869–894 MHz segments are used for cellular
radiotelephone services in the USA.
Above 890 MHz, arrangements in the USA differ from those in Australia. There is
no allocation for digital CMTS in the 900 MHz band in the USA.
The upper part of the 900 MHz band is used in the US for a variety of services
including paging and radiotelephone services, narrowband personal
communications services, multiple address services and specialised mobile
In Europe, there are similarities with Australian arrangements for the
use of the upper part of the 900 MHz band.
Australia adopted the global system for mobile communications (GSM) standard
from Europe and as a result, the Australian allocation for digital CMTS is the
same as that used mostly for GSM in Europe.
The use of 915–935 MHz for defence in Europe overlaps with defence use of
915–928 MHz in Australia.
Use of the rest of the 900 MHz band differs between Europe and
Australia. The European digital dividend (790–862 MHz) is substantially
different from the Australian digital dividend and overlaps a lower portion of
the 900 MHz band.
Other uses of the 900 MHz band in Europe include extension of the GSM segments,
railway communications and land mobile services.
Parts of the 900 MHz band are being considered by the Asia-Pacific
Telecommunity Wireless Group (AWG) for harmonised public protection and
disaster relief (PPDR) radiocommunications systems across Region 3 (see
discussion in Chapter 1).
Specifically, the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) is considering the 806–824
MHz band together with the 851–869 MHz band:
...for harmonised PPDR across some countries in Region 3.
These segments are already allocated for PPDR systems in some Region 3
countries, including Korea. The PPDR systems currently used internationally in
this segment are based on narrowband technologies. It has been proposed that
the AWG also consider developing harmonised plans to enable broadband
technologies based on work currently underway in 3GPP.
Spectrum for broadband PPDR radiocommunications in Australia
During the course of the inquiry, ESOs consistently raised their need
for dedicated broadband spectrum particularly as their data requirements
continue to increase with technological advances (for example automated number
plate recognition and in-field fingerprint identification).
The AFP explained '[d]ata communications and the level of traffic every year is
while the NSW Government described the challenges for ESOs using existing
commercial networks for data services:
...we need access to systems for people, we need access to
spectrum for governments so that we can run our radio networks and we need
access to spectrum for our data networks as well. Failing that—and you will
hear a lot about that discussion around the data services—we need access to
dedicated parts of the commercial network because, while the commercial
networks prove very effective, they are prone to congestion and emergency
services need to be able to communicate in emergency situations.
ESOs, however, had mixed views about what spectrum best suited their
broadband radiocommunication needs and should therefore be allocated for PPDR. Some
ESOs, for example the Fire and Emergency Services Agency of Western Australia
(FESA) and the Police Federation of Australia (PFA), recommended allocation of spectrum
from the digital dividend.
Other ESOs were undecided about whether spectrum in the 700 MHz band or 800 and
900 MHz bands would be preferable, but agreed that dedicated spectrum was
required for broadband PPDR radiocommunications.
A comparison of the 700 MHz band and 800 and 900 MHz bands is below.
Telecommunications organisations, such as Telstra and the Australian
Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), disagreed with the proposition
that ESOs required dedicated spectrum for broadband communications and that
spectrum for this purpose be allocated from the digital dividend.
Telstra claimed that a separate mobile network owned and operated by
...not the best way of achieving the desired outcome.
Instead, it would be more economic and effective to incorporate the ESO
requirements into existing commercial mobile networks. Telstra believes that
the building of a new mobile network is unnecessary and would be unduly costly.
Telstra stated its strong opposition to the reservation of digital
dividend spectrum for ESOs on the basis:
- it would inhibit the ability of the commercial operators to
deliver the full economic potential of the digital dividend spectrum, and the nation
would incur an economic loss;
- due to the high costs involved, the high risk that the spectrum
would remain largely unused; and
- such a reservation would be unique to Australia and not
harmonised with the frequencies that have been identified by the International
Telecommunications Union (ITU) for PPDR use across the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr Chris Althaus, Chief Executive Officer of AMTA, argued the best
outcome—from a cost-benefit and service delivery perspective—would be for ESOs
to partner with the telecommunications industry.
Mr Althaus stated:
...as an industry we have a community and a social
responsibility to respond to the needs of the Australian people during times of
crisis, and the partnership with the ESOs is a key feature.
We are the providers of that service who can best provide
that. Leave emergency services to what they do best. Running networks and
providing communication services is what we do best.
DBCDE and the ACMA clarified the federal government's proposal to
allocate spectrum for broadband PPDR radiocommunications in Australia:
The frequency range currently proposed to be earmarked for
allocation for public safety broadband use in Australia is a portion within the
frequency range 805-820 MHz paired with a portion within the frequency 850-870
The lower segment (805-820 MHz) will be released as part of
Australia’s ‘digital dividend’ band (694-820 MHz) via the switchover from
analog to digital television and the relocation – or ‘restacking’ – of digital
broadcasting services out of this band. Legislative amendments passed by the
Parliament in May 2011 set a deadline of 31 December 2014 for completion of the
The upper segment (850-870 MHz) is currently used for various
services, including point-to-point services and trunked land mobile services.
Within this spectrum, 865-870 MHz is currently allocated for trunked land
The ACMA has commenced a review of future arrangements for
the 800/900 MHz bands, and is empowered to review incumbents’ spectrum holdings
to relocate existing users under the regulatory framework...The ACMA is
expected to release its decision on the revised planning arrangements for the 800/900
MHz bands in the second quarter of 2014, with implementation to commence
shortly thereafter. It is expected that any allocation of spectrum from the 800
MHz band for public safety agencies would be available by 2015 – that is, in
the same timeframe as the 700 MHz band.
The amount of spectrum needed to deploy the mobile broadband
capability sought by public safety agencies will be identified by the ACMA, in
consultation with the Public Safety Mobile Broadband Steering Committee. The
Steering Committee will work with the ACMA as part of the ACMA’s review of the
800/900 MHz band to identify a suitable amount of spectrum necessary to meet
DBCDE re-iterated the federal government's commitment to the development
of a 'nationally interoperable mobile broadband capability for public safety
agencies' through its participation in the Public Safety Mobile Broadband
700 MHz band or 800 and 900 MHz
The PFA claimed the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act) required
the government to make dedicated broadband spectrum available to ESOs because:
...it does not say that the Australian Communications and
Media Authority must have regard to the needs of law enforcement and defence,
for example. It says, "make adequate provision for". This is a very
unusual provision, set out in the objects of the act. We believe that, if you
accept that mobile broadband communications are part of the need of public
safety agencies in the present era, then we believe that "making adequate
provision" includes doing so for mobile broadband communications.
On that basis, the PFA argued strongly for the allocation of spectrum
from the 700 MHz band for broadband PPDR radiocommunications:
The 700 MHz band is special. That is why it is sometimes
referred to as ‘the waterfront property’ of spectrum. It is special because
communications in this band can carry large amounts of data, at high speed,
over long distances, and can penetrate buildings. It is ideal for mobile
broadband services and for emergency and policing services at critical times of
national emergency when normal radio and telephone communications are pushed to
the limit or severely overloaded past breaking point.
All of Australia’s Police Commissioners from every State and
Territory and the AFP have agreed that they need 20 MHz (10 +10 MHz paired) of
this newly available 700 MHz band to establish a leading edge network for law
enforcement and emergency services agencies. Premiers have written to Ministers
and the Prime Minister supporting a proposal that the Gillard Government
reserve 20 MHz for these vital essential services in the national interest. The
matter was also raised at the February 2011 meeting of COAG. The Australasian Fire
Authorities Council and the Council of Ambulance Authorities are each supporting
They are all convinced that it is not prudent or feasible to
rely on commercial carriers from which they would buy the necessary communications
services. They would essentially be at the mercy of a monopoly commercial
carrier as far as price and quality of service are concerned. There are also
serious concerns surrounding capacity, redundancy, security and reliability needed
for such ‘mission critical’ purposes. Foreign ownership of such a carrier would
jeopardize national security of critical information and communications.
ANZPAA also advocated for the allocation of 700 MHz spectrum to ESOs. Mr
Andrew Scipione, Board Member, ANZPAA outlined the following reasons for
preferring the 700 MHz band over the 800 and 900 MHz bands:
- the time it would take to vacate spectrum in the 900 MHz band (re-stacking);
- the availability and cost of equipment for use on spectrum in the
800 and 900 MHz bands; and
- international harmonisation, particularly with Europe and the
United Kingdom, and the interoperability of Australian police equipment with
other police forces on international missions.
Other ESOs were undecided about what spectrum should be allocated for broadband
PPDR in Australia. The AFP's view was typical of these:
...my honest view is that I do not know whether 700 or [800
and 900] is the same or better or worse. I am not a technical expert. I have
seen advice from both sides which have different views. I simply do not know.
However, I do know that we need one of them, one or the other. As we move
forward, law enforcement in particular and emergency services are going to need
some sort of high-end broadband to be able to do our job. Situational awareness
at the point where an incident occurs for people making command decisions is
absolutely imperative. The more information you can get better decisions you
will make. Could you imagine what it would have been like in 2003 at the time
of the bushfires had we been able to send real live pictures of for example
what was happening from our police and emergency officers at the scene back to
the command centre. Much higher quality decisions can be made by command with
the more information you have. That just stands to reason. While there is the
capability to do it in terms of equipment, we still need the mechanism, the
ability I suppose, to transmit the information. In the future there is no doubt
that law enforcement and emergency services need some sort of high end
bandwidth in the wireless format.
The NSW Government was equally undecided about whether spectrum from the
700 MHz band or 800 and 900 MHz bands would best suit ESOs' operational needs but
agreed that dedicated broadband spectrum was required:
Clearly we think access to some sort of data spectrum is
really critical and there will be lots of people...who will say, 'We have to
get access to 700.' There are people saying, 'The demand is too great; we have
to look somewhere else.' But the issue..is that we need access to spectrum that
meets operational purposes and it needs to be delivered to us in a way which we
can afford because not only do we need spectrum but we need to then go off and
build networks. The only alternative is to use commercial spectrum and if we
are forced to use commercial spectrum then that will raise the issue of how we
get reserve capacity in the commercial spectrum so that when my [state and
territory] colleagues...are out in the field fighting fires and dealing with
floods they actually have the service needed.
...I do not have a preference per se. If [800 and 900] can
deliver the spectrum and it can be delivered commercially through available
technology so that we do not have to go out and build new technology and if it
can be delivered to meet the needs of emergency services at a reasonable cost I
do not have a preference.
In response to claims made by ESOs regarding the technical differences
between spectrum in the 700 MHz band and the 800 and 900 MHz bands, the ACMA
stated '[t]he propagation characteristics in 700 and [800 and 900] are
identical. In building penetration issues they are exactly the same'.
As to whether spectrum from the 700 MHz band or the 800 and 900 MHz bands
would be best for broadband PPDR radiocommunications, the federal government is
considering whether spectrum from the 800 and 900 MHz bands should be allocated
for this purpose.
It is the government's intention that some of the 700 MHz band will be
auctioned (for commercial use) during 2012.
Availability and cost of equipment
The issue regarding the allocation of spectrum in the 700 MHz band or 800
and 900 MHz bands for broadband PPDR radiocommunications was related to
concerns about the relative availability and cost of equipment for use on
either the 700 MHz band or 800 and 900 MHz bands.
Motorola Solutions explained:
The relatively small public safety [800 and 900] MHz [long
term evolution] market size globally and departure from the Region 3 band plan
will limit availability of chipsets and devices for public safety
organisations. This will lead to reduced competition and consequential higher
prices for products, and lack of advanced features as the technology evolves
over future decades.
ANZPAA and the PFA agreed and argued that allocating spectrum from the 800
and 900 MHz bands for broadband PPDR radiocommunications would mean ESOs incurred
greater equipment costs as they would have to pay for purpose-built rather than
ANZPAA went on to concede that the allocation of spectrum for broadband PPDR
radiocommunications was a commercial decision for government but indicated that
financial support—particularly for equipment costs—would be required from the
Commonwealth Government if ESOs were allocated spectrum in the 800 and 900 MHz
Can I just say that this will be a commercial decision.
Clearly, that is the case. We are asking what we believe is for a very small
portion of a very lucrative area within the spectrum. We are looking for two
times 10 meg slots. I am here today because, as a police officer, we have one
thing in mind. That is not to make a profit; we just want to add to the safety
and security of our nation.
The fact is that if we are going to have a look at either
dealing with an allocation in the [800 and 900] meg area, should that be the
decision that is made by government, or, alternatively, buying service, it is
going to cost us—and cost us significantly as we become more reliant on this
type of technology. If there was some means by which we can be helped as a
profession to transition through into the [800 and 900] megahertz area and, if
the allocation was made perhaps there is some means by which we can take some
assistance from the Commonwealth to make it, if you like, more achievable.
In response to the PFA and ANZPAA's claims, the ACMA suggested the use
of 800 and 900 MHz spectrum for broadband PPDR radiocommunications would result
in lower equipment costs because use of this spectrum for PPDR
radiocommunications would be harmonised within the Asia Pacific region:
...where we see the growth and the ability for a range of
suppliers and equipment is in the fact that these bands will be internationally
harmonised for the next generation of mobile technology. We feel that that
would provide some great economies of scale for public safety agencies—still
with the requirements they have for hardening, which is normally network
hardening rather than standards for the handsets—so we do not see that that
would be an area that is problematic.
We are in region 3, which is the Asia-Pacific and, really, we
are looking to standardise probably with China, India, Japan and
Korea—countries like those which are large manufacturing countries—so that
there is an economy of scale to buy equipment. That is happening in both the
700 and those portions of the 800 that are not yet allocated. Interestingly,
those portions of the 800 that we are talking about are immediately adjacent to
that Telstra-Voda Next G band and so we would expect those standards just to
grow into that band, just as we would expect new standards to come in for the
700 band as well.
As technology advances and the ability to use mobile broadband to inform
and support the work of ESOs expands, ESOs' need for broadband spectrum will
inevitably increase. In particular, the use of photos, video, maps and other
tools will increasingly be relied upon in operational decision-making by ESOs
by providing information both to and from "the scene" in real time.
The committee acknowledges that the capacity for ESOs to use mobile
broadband in these ways will better enable ESOs to protect people and property
during times of emergency. It is also the committee's view it is preferable to
allocate to ESOs dedicated spectrum that is separate from the commercial
networks. On this basis, the committee believes that dedicated broadband
spectrum should be allocated for PPDR radiocommunications in Australia.
Further, it is the committee's view that the allocation of broadband
spectrum for PPDR radiocommunications should provide for interoperability
amongst Australian ESOs and with ESO counterparts overseas.
2.50 The committee recommends the Commonwealth Government allocate sufficient
spectrum for dedicated broadband public protection and disaster relief (PPDR)
radiocommunications in Australia.
2.51 The committee further recommends that any allocation of broadband spectrum
to emergency service organisations (ESOs) for PPDR must be provided on the
basis of interoperability amongst Australian ESOs and with ESO counterparts
However, the committee does not have the technical expertise to
recommend whether this spectrum should be in the 700 MHz band or 800 and 900
MHz bands. The committee notes that DBCDE, the ACMA and the Attorney-General's
Department are currently engaged in processes examining this question.
The committee strongly encourages stakeholders participating in the Public
Safety Mobile Broadband Steering Committee and the ACMA's review of the
900 MHz band to critically examine the benefits and weaknesses of using
spectrum in the 800 and 900 MHz bands for broadband PPDR radiocommunications in
Australia. The Commonwealth Government together with state and territory
governments should, in collaboration with ESOs, develop strategies to address
any identified weaknesses associated with the use of the 800 and 900 MHz bands
for broadband PPDR prior to implementing a decision to use this spectrum for
Further, the committee notes the concerns raised by some submitters
regarding the availability and cost of equipment for use in 800 and 900 MHz
spectrum. The committee suggests that the availability and cost of equipment
for use by ESOs is explicitly considered by the Public Safety Mobile Broadband
Steering Committee as part of its deliberations.
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