Issue for comment 25/2014 – 24 June
In June 2014, the ACMA released the Progressing opportunity cost (OC) pricing in the 400 MHz band paper as a part of the 400 MHz band review. OC pricing is consistent with ensuring that spectrum is used efficiently and for its highest value uses. The consultation had two focus areas, namely:
- addressing ongoing congestion in the high density areas of the 400 MHz band, which may imply a further increase in the licence tax rate would be appropriate. As flagged when the first increase was implemented in August 2012, further increments in the apparatus licence tax rate depend on the impact on demand for spectrum.
the ACMA signalled that it is considering introducing OC pricing in remote density areas of the 400 MHz band. The consultation paper outlined the low levels of demand across most of the remote density areas and the ACMA’s view that a reduction in the licence tax rate would therefore be appropriate. Such a reduction would encourage use of currently under-utilised spectrum.
In considering the submissions made the ACMA modified its monitoring framework for the demand for spectrum in high density areas. After considering this modified framework, the ACMA has decided it will implement the second of five proposed (15 per cent) increments for apparatus licence taxes in the high density areas (Sydney/Wollongong, Melbourne/Geelong and Brisbane/Gold Coast) of the 400 MHz band. The increment in the taxes will start on 5 April 2016. The OC pricing arrangements do not apply to non-assigned amateur licences. In addition, emergency service organisations and those engaged in safety-of-life services continue to benefit from licence tax exemptions.
The ACMA has also decided to introduce opportunity cost pricing to the remote density areas, which will see apparatus licence taxes decrease to the minimum annual tax of approximately $39. This change in taxes will also occur on 5 April 2016.
In responding to the submissions made the ACMA has also provided Managing spectrum in the 400 MHz Band —Next Steps paper.
The consultation period for the consultation paper closed on 14 August 2014. Some submissions were received after this date but will be considered as part of the consultation process. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) received seven submissions:
The ACMA is committed to ensuring the effectiveness of its stakeholder consultation processes, which are an important source of evidence for its regulatory development activities. To assist stakeholders in formulating submissions to its formal, written consultation processes, it has developed the following guide: Effective consultation: A guide to making a submission. This guide provides information about the ACMA’s formal, written, public consultation processes and practical guidance on how to make a submission.
Publication of submissions
In general, the ACMA publishes all submissions it receives. The ACMA prefers to receive submissions which are not claimed to be confidential. However, the ACMA accepts that a submitter may sometimes wish to provide information in confidence. In these circumstances, submitters are asked to identify the material over which confidentiality is claimed and provide a written explanation for the claim. The ACMA will consider each confidentiality claim on a case-by-case basis. If the ACMA accepts a claim, it will not publish the confidential information unless authorised or required by law to do so.
Release of submissions where authorised or required by law
Any submissions provided to the ACMA may be released under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (unless an exemption applies) or shared with other Commonwealth government agencies and certain other parties under Part 7A of the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005. The ACMA may also be required to release submissions for other reasons including for the purpose of parliamentary processes or where otherwise required by law (for example, under a court subpoena). While the ACMA seeks to consult submitters of confidential information before that information is provided to another party, the ACMA cannot guarantee that confidential information will not be released through these or other legal means.
The Privacy Act 1988 imposes obligations on the ACMA in relation to the collection, security, quality, access, use and disclosure of personal information. These obligations are detailed in the Australian Privacy Principles that apply to organisations and Australian Government agencies from 12 March 2014.
The ACMA may only collect personal information if it is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, one or more of its functions or activities.
The purposes for which personal information is being collected (such as the names and contact details of submitters) are to:
- contribute to the transparency of the consultation process by clarifying, where appropriate, whose views are represented by a submission
- enable the ACMA to contact submitters where follow-up is required or to notify them of related matters (except where submitters indicate they do not wish to be notified of such matters).
The ACMA will not use the personal information collected for any other purpose, unless the submitter has provided their consent or the ACMA is otherwise permitted to do so under the Privacy Act.
Submissions in response to this paper are voluntary. As mentioned above, the ACMA generally publishes all submissions it receives, including any personal information in the submissions. If a submitter has made a confidentiality claim over personal information which the ACMA has accepted, the submission will be published without that information. The ACMA will not release the personal information unless authorised or required by law to do so.
If a submitter wishes to make a submission anonymously or through use of a pseudonym, they are asked to contact the ACMA to see whether it is practicable to do so in light of the subject matter of the consultation. If it is practicable, the ACMA will notify the submitter of any procedures that need to be followed and whether there are any other consequences of making a submission in that way.