Retransmission of Television Content Agreement

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Retransmission of Television Content Agreement Powered By Docstoc
					A. Unassigned TV Channels
B. Expiring Spectrum Licences
                   Brendan Vernon
      Manager, Projects and Coordination Section
               Pricing & Policy Branch

              Radcomms Conference 2006
                  12 December 2006
    Australian Communications and Media Authority
A. Unassigned TV Channels.
 On 18 October 2006, the Parliament passed laws that will
 allow the emergence of a range of new services for
 Australian consumers.
 The new legislation provides for the allocation of two
 types of datacasting transmitter licences (DTL – akin to
 an apparatus licence) operating in the digital mode:
 Channel A and
 Channel B
 The DTLs will be allocated as separate, national licences
 for ten years with the possibility of a further five year
Channel A
 Licensees may only provide open narrowcasting*, datacasting and
 community broadcasting services which are capable of being received
 by domestic digital television receivers;
 Commercial television broadcasting licensees and national broadcasters
 may not control a channel A DTL;
 The price-based allocation system for allocation of channel A licences
 designed by ACMA must include preconditions for participation in the
 allocation and the Minister may direct ACMA in regard to these pre-
 conditions; and
 ACMA may impose licence conditions, including in relation to rollout
 obligations on channel A licences, with the Minister to have the power
 to direct ACMA about imposition of such conditions.
 Note: *ACMA decisions on narrowcasting under s21 of the
 Broadcasting Services Act (takes 45 days, requests need to be lodged
Channel B
 Licensees may provide datacasting services under a BSA datacasting
 licence, another licence allocated by ACMA under the BSA authorising
 provision of that service, or a service provided in accordance with a class
 licence under the BSA.
 Licensees cannot provide:
 commercial broadcasting services, subscription television broadcasting
 services to domestic digital television receivers,
 services provided by commercial television broadcasting licensees or
 national broadcasters to domestic digital television receivers, and
 retransmission of an existing commercial television broadcasting or
 national broadcasting service to domestic digital television receivers;
 Commercial television broadcasting licensees and national broadcasters
 may control a channel B datacasting transmitter licence only if it is not
 used to provide services to domestic digital television receivers; and
 Licensees must commence services within 18 months or such longer period
 allowed by ACMA.
Channel B access undertakings regime
   The legislation establishes an access regime that provides that a person is
   not eligible to apply for a Channel B DTL unless that person has
   submitted an access undertaking to the ACCC and the ACCC has accepted
   that undertaking*.
   The access undertaking should provide for access to services that enable or
   facilitate the transmission of content services by content service providers.
   The ACCC may determine, by legislative instrument, criteria to be applied
   in deciding whether to accept an access undertaking or a variation of an
   access undertaking.
   An accepted undertaking will become binding on a person who acquires a
   channel B DTL and adherence to the terms of an undertaking will be a
   condition of the licence
   The undertaking remains for the duration of the licence and transfers with
   any licence transfer. However, undertakings may be varied with the
   agreement of the ACCC.
Note: *ACCC requires up to 12 weeks to assess access undertakings
S50 of Trade Practices Act (TPA)

 Section 50 of the TPA prohibits acquisitions of shares or assets
 which would be likely to substantially lessen competition in a
 Section 106A of the Radiocommunications Act provides that
 the acquisition by a person of an apparatus licence (such as a
 DTL for channel A and/or B) would constitute the acquisition
 of an asset by that person for the purposes of s. 50 of the TPA.
 Applicants for Channels A and/or B may need to request
 clearance from the ACCC prior to the allocation of the
 DTLs. This process typically takes 8 – 12 weeks however it
 is advisable to allow plenty of time if seeking a clearance.
Consultation papers
 ACMA will release consultation paper on auction
 parameters this week to close on 5 February 2007
 ACCC will release consultation paper seeking
 comment on access undertakings for Channel B
 this week to close early February 2007
 ACMA will finalise television narrowcasting
 guidelines by mid March 2007
ACMA seeks views on
Which channels for “A” and “B”
method of price-based allocation
allocation participation criteria for channel A
rollout obligations for channels A and B
competition limits – to whom and number
trading and swapping channels
enforcement issues - FTA TV use of channel B
„digital dividend‟ post analog TV switchover
B. Expiring Spectrum Licences
  Spectrum licences issued around the turn of the century are
  due to expire in the next few years;
  Under the current Radiocommunications Act, ACMA cannot
  commence processes to formulate decisions on action on
  expiry until 2 years before licence expiry;
  The first of these are a small number of 10 year spectrum
  licences in the 500 MHz band due to expire in 2007;
  ACMA is to consider the future of these licences shortly.
 Under a proposed amendment to the Act, if
 passed, ACMA will, in future, be required to
 complete these processes 3 years before expiry;
 The high value 15 year mobile telephony
 spectrum licences were allocated in the period
 1998-2001 and will expire in 2013-2016;
 If the amendment to the Act is passed, then
 ACMA will commence work on these 15 year
 expiring 500 MHz licences in 2007-2008.
 Work on the high value 15 year mobile telephony
 licences will commence at the same time.
Completed Auction
Legislation ss78-84 of the Radcoms Act
   Under section 82(1) of the Act, ACMA can reissue
   spectrum licences to incumbent licensees without the
   need to undertake a price-based allocation if either:
(a) The spectrum licences were used to provide a service
   that the Minister now determines to be in the public
   interest; or
(b) ACMA is satisfied that special circumstances exist to
   justify reissuing the licence in the public interest to the
   incumbent licence holder.
   Under subsection 82(3) of the Act, the Minister may
   determine, by written instrument, a specified class of
   services for which re-issuing spectrum licences to the
   same licensees would be in the public interest.
Further details
For more details on any of the above issues please
  feel free to contact me

Brendan Vernon
Canberra office of ACMA
(02) 6219 5262

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