The ABA has decided to do test broadcasts on the potential high power commercial frequencies in Sydney and Melbourne during March and April, as part of the current licence area planning process. They notified Sydney and Melbourne aspirant community broadcasters earlier this month that their planned TCBL transmissions might be disrupted by the tests.
The four FM channels potentially available in the Sydney market are: 92.1 MHz (medium power 15 kW), 93.7 MHz (medium power 15 kW), 94.5 MHz (high power 150kW) and 96.9 MHz (high power 150kW).
The Melbourne frequencies potentially available are: 89.9 MHz, 90.7 MHz, 91.5 MHz and 100.3 MHz. The frequency 100.3 MHz has been identified as a high power frequency for Melbourne. However, the frequency is currently being used by the community service 3YYR in Geelong, and cannot be used in Melbourne until 3YYR moves to an alternative frequency.
During the period of the test broadcasts no temporary community broadcasting licences (TCBL) will be allocated. Similarly, special event broadcasts may be affected. The ABA will give priority to the tests but will “seek to minimise the disruption that these tests will cause to services under temporary community or special event licences”.
The ABA said they have “not yet finalised the details of precisely when and how these tests will be conducted. Until these details are determined it will be difficult to settle the periods and timing conditions of wide coverage temporary community or special event broadcasting licences during the nominated periods. The ABA expects to resolve these matters in February.”