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OneWeb, ViaSat outline their Australian regulatory wishlist

Global satellite providers OneWeb and ViaSat used this week’s Australian Communications and the Media Authority RadComms conference in Sydney to make their case for simpler regulation and the preservation of the 28 GHz band for satellite use respectively.

OneWeb’s London-based global licensing and spectrum VP Tony Azzarelli praised the satellite regulatory regime employed by the European Union, which harmonises licensing across 28 countries.

He contrasted this with the rest of the world, where many countries had their own licensing and pricing idiosyncrasies, making for a complex environment for a company such as OneWeb, which plans a leet of some 900 satellites offering coverage to every nation. Azzarelli indicated that he didn’t see Australia as the worst example in the world, intimating that it had facilitated a degree of harmonisation with New Zealand, but he did make a number of suggestions to ACMA.

“One comment I would make to the ACMA [is] I would encourage that you simplify the regulations for licensing because there are too many licences that we have to have, as well as the pricing for spectrum is quite high,” Azzarelli (pictured, on the left) said. “When I compare this to other countries in the western world in Europe and North America, the price is quite high because of the access spectrum. But I hope that we could reconsider that.” “I would suggest you join the European Union,” he joked. “The UK is leaving and there are a few islands in this area that belong to France!”

VIASAT WANTS 28GHZ PROTECTION: Meanwhile, Viasat director of regulatory affairs Chris Hofer (pictured, on the right) emphasised how valuable the 28GHz band was to its continuing operations, even as ACMA considers its future as a mobile broadband spectrum band.

The band continued to be a viable and key resource for satellite applications, he said, name-checking a satellite-enabled hotspot service called “Community WiFi” that covers nearly all of Mexico.

28GHz would literally be used to connect millions via satellite over the next five years, he said. “The continued access to 28GHz is very important to us [because] it is the only way to meet exponentially growing customer demands,” Hofer added.

He pointed out that the peak spectrum policy forum, the World Radiocommunications Council, had not decided to study the 27.5-28.35 GHz band for mobile broadband services at its most recent meeting. That said, the US, along with other countries, are going ahead with use of this band for mobile broadband without the imprimatur of WRC endorsement.

“It is essential that current satellite access to 28GHz be maintained throughout the world, so we can connect the unconnected and meet the needs of individuals, businesses and governments,” said Hofer.

The ACMA is currently conducting a consultation on the band and has extended the deadline by one week to 16 November. It is considering a number of options such as geographic separation and spectrum sharing between mobile and satellite uses of the spectrum.

Jessica Taulaga, Commsday

Australasia Satellite Forum 2019


The Westin Hotel, Sydney, Australia

21 & 22 May 2019


For further information please contact kfrench@