While Australia is a great country, there's no denying that in many places it can feel quite rural. There's a lot of empty space, and the people who live there often lose out in terms of things like mobile broadband. However, a new government initiative looks set to change that in the near future.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced it will be auctioning off bands of spectrum in certain areas of the country. This refers to the frequency at which different radio waves travel. By auctioning off bands of this frequency, the ACMA is essentially providing the capability for more mobile broadband in these areas.
Companies will be able to purchase some of the spectrum in the 1800 MHz band that was unallocated after the ACMA's 2015 auction. Spectrum in the 2.0 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands will also be up for grabs.
Nerida O’Loughlin, the chair of the ACMA, said: “We anticipate the spectrum will be used for mobile or fixed wireless broadband services with the majority of lots available being in regional areas. But we have also built flexibility into the technical frameworks for each band, allowing for other uses as well.”
So which regions will (hopefully) be getting improved mobile broadband in the future? It depends on the spectrum bands. For example, the 2.0 GHz band is largely being auctioned off in urban areas, including Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth.
The remaining parts of the 1800 MHz band, on the other hand, will affect a number of areas, including the entirety of Tasmania and the eastern areas of Dubbo, Mackay and Maryborough.
However, it is the 2.3 GHz band that will have the biggest effect on rural mobile broadband users. This part of the spectrum is being auctioned off for huge areas of the country, such as Cameron Corner in south-east Australia and Geraldton/Kalgoorlie in the west.