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Feedback sought on broadband spectrum

Hon David Cunliffe

Minister for Communications and Information Technology


4th June 2008 Media Statement


Feedback sought on broadband spectrum

Communications and Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe today announced the release of a discussion paper on the operation of the Managed Spectrum Park (MSP) in the 2.5 GHz radio spectrum band.

“The MSP is a new concept in New Zealand,” Mr Cunliffe said. “It is intended for local and regional broadband services, such as Wi-MAX, and seeks to encourage a flexible, cooperative, low cost and self-managed approach to allocation and use of radio spectrum.”

In December last year, six bidders acquired nation-wide management rights in the government’s auction of radio spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz bands and 25 MHz was reserved for Maori in the 2.3 GHz band. At the same time, 45 MHz was set aside for a MSP for local services in the 2.5 GHz band.

The proposals are likely to be of interest to smaller industry players, local and regional councils and iwi groups. The intention is to have the new concept operating as early as possible in 2009.

“The MSP will make a valuable contribution to the government’s Digital Strategy, and in particular to the overall objective of making broadband services available to all New Zealanders,” Mr Cunliffe concluded.

Interested parties are encouraged to make submissions on the proposals.

Submissions close on 18 July 2008.


More information

The Discussion paper is available at www.rsm.govt.nz

Submissions should be sent to radiospectrum@med.govt.nz


--


Background

In November last year decisions were announced by the government concerning the use and allocation of radio spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz bands. These announcements followed consideration of responses to a discussion paper issued in August 2007. In addition to the auction of eight lots of spectrum, two further lots were made available as part of the allocation process for radio spectrum in these bands. A 45 MHz lot was reserved for a "managed spectrum park" (MSP), which is the subject of this consultation. Also, a nationwide lot of 25 MHz was reserved for Maori.

The August 2007 discussion paper suggested several options for operating the park. Most submissions favoured an approach which provided for maximum technological flexibility and neutrality.

The key components of the proposed approach are:

• The MSP is available only for local and regional services covering a maximum of 10 contiguous TLA areas.

• Users determine the specifications of licences, thereby providing for technology neutrality and flexibility

• Where the demand for licences in an area is such that quality of service is potentially compromised, a period is set for applicants to coordinate and agree on revised specifications. If they cannot do so, the Ministry of Economic Development draws lots progressively to eliminate applications, until the remainder can be accommodated.

• Licences have a six-year term with a right of renewal on certain conditions.

• Use-or-lose provisions apply.

• A resource rental is charged for use of the MSP.


1) What is a managed spectrum park (MSP)?

This is a block of spectrum for shared use. It allows local/regional access for a selected number of users, but with requirements to coordinate with other users to enhance the quality of service otherwise achievable. It is a middle ground option between nation-wide spectrum rights with exclusive access (highest acquisition cost but offering high quality of service) and open (public) access in the General Licence "Wi-Fi" bands (easy access with no licence fees, but a greater risk of interference and reduced quality of service).

2) How much spectrum is available for the MSP?

The spectrum allocated for the MSP is 45 MHz in the 2.5 GHz band. It is located at 2575-2620 MHz. However, a guard-band needs to be provided at the lower boundary of the MSP to provide protection from interference from and to the adjacent management right.

Thus the effective bandwidth available for MSP services is 40 MHz, at 2580 to 2620 MHz.


3) When will the "use it or lose it" provisions apply?

The ‘use or lose’ provisions will apply from two years after licences are granted.These rules are intended to ensure rights holders use rights or relinquish them (which frees up spectrum for new entrants and other rights holders).

ENDS

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