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Australian government seeks comment on ENG relocation from nation’s broadcasters

U.S. TV stations participating in the relocation of 2GHz ENG microwave transmission to new digital channels above 2025MHz aren’t the only broadcasters worldwide vacating the portion of spectrum long used for electronic newsgathering to make way for wireless consumer services.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority Jan.12 released a discussion paper as part of a review of the 2.5GHz band used in that nation by free-to-air TV broadcasters for ENG microwave transmission.

As in the United States, the Australian approach envisions making room for new wireless access services in a portion of the band used for ENG. The paper presents the view that ENG transmission can continue in a portion of the 2.5GHz band with the rest of the band being made available for licensed wireless access service in metropolitan areas.

According to the chairman of the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the ongoing review of pricing, planning and licensing of the 2.5GHz band has two goals: deciding how to plan and allocate the 2.5GHz band to achieve its highest-value use and identifying long-term spectrum assignments for ENG microwave transmissions.

Three options for ENG spectrum allocation are examined in the paper, including use of 2025MHz-2110MHz and 2200MHz-2300MHz; ENG access to 2010MHz-2025MHz; and ENG access to 1980MHz-2010MHz and 2170MHz-2200MHz with the understanding that mobile satellite service may be introduced into the bands in the future.

In all, the options under consideration would make available 260MHz of spectrum for ENG transmission and would require coordinating with and clearing some incumbent users from the spectrum, the paper said.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority will continue discussing the various spectrum relocation options with the country’s ENG operators, the paper said. To help determine the viability of each proposal, the authority will seek comment from ENG operators on relocation costs as well as operational and transition-related issues.

The authority has set a March 12 deadline for comments from stakeholders.