RealTime IT News

Australian Government to Auction Broadband to Small Telcos

From australia.internet.com

The Australian Federal Government announced plans to auction broadband radio communications spectrum to encourage smaller players into the telecommunications arena.

The Government intends to auction Local Multipoint Distribution Services (LMDS) spectrum lots on the 28GHz and 31GHz bands. It said it will sell band spectrum at auction and because several companies have already expressed interest in buying space.

LMDS is designed to carry data, including high-speed Internet, local-loop telephony services, and two-way interactive television. It sits high in the spectrum and has a wide bandwidth of 1GHz so that it can transmit large quantities of data. At the moment LMDS does have a short range of as little as five kilometres, however, so will be limited to central business districts linked by antennae.

LMDS technology is still in its evolutionary phase, only recently was sold to organisations in the USA and Canada. "LMDS has tremendous bandwidth," said Australian Communications Authority (ACA) spokesman Brendan Vernon. "If it works, it will be really useful."

To ensure the auction allows more telecommunications carriers to secure spectrum, current major Australian telcos Telstra and Optus have been barred from bidding in this auction.

The government expects that LMDS could compete with the fibre optic technology used by Telstra and Optus.

The ACA predicts the auction will be held next year; it also anticipates a second auction later in the year in which Telstra and Optus will be allowed to bid.