Broadband usage will grow: RadComms 2011 Conference

Spectrum demand and regulation were key topics on the agenda of this year’s RadComms Conference. ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman told conference delegates the regulator “has listened with a soft ear,” to industry opinions on key spectrum issues. Keynote speaker Martin Weiss told the conference that data traffic is growing faster than Moores law. This means innovation in devices is not growing fast enough.

Weiss’ approach, described as Cognitive Radio, urges regulators and device manufacturers to accommodate smart network monitoring which allows devices to modify their spectrum usage depending on what the user wants to do, to get the most efficiency from the spectrum. It is known as Dynamic Spectrum Access. To see Weiss’ conference slides, click here.


Describing ACMA’s approach to policy and planning, Chris Chapman says: “Getting it right is not about claiming to know it all. As an organization, the ACMA has matured. We have asked questions and genuinely listened to what you have to say.  Industry, safety, defence, the amateur community, meteorology, the transport industry…the list is long, but we have listened.”


Click the play icon below to tap in to who is currently speaking at a live feed from the conference.



Chapman set the agenda for key issues at the beginning of the conference, saying: “The New paradigm for spectrum utility case study describes the activities conducted by the ACMA in making new arrangements for the coexistence of the new technologies such as dynamic spectrum access, cognitive radio, whitespace and ultra wideband devices in existing spectrum licensed bands. The ACMA expects that these technologies will develop further and become commercially available during the lifetime of reissued spectrum licences.”

ACMA’s Maureen Cahill said the current regulatory framework was put in place to regulate technology of twenty years ago. “It is ageing gracefully, but is creating some difficulties,” said Cahill. She asked whether current technologies can be regulated in the present framework, but concluded that the current regulatory regime is “limiting the ability to regulate new services… ACMA has sometimes to make decisions which are ad hoc and not long term. Licensing types are limiting our approach and creating artificial boundaries.”  See Maureen Cahill’s slide presentation here.

Telstra’s Brian Miller told the conference, “government and industry needs to work as a team.” He says broadband convergence will be faster than mobile-data growth in the next few years. “The majority of media communications will be delivered by broadband… there will be a massive growth of mobile broadband traffic from mobile [phone] handsets… There is also be fast growth of location based mobile services.”

So he says Australia will need more spectrum for mobile broadband.

Miller also sees an explosion of mobile use on buses and trams. He urged mobile phones to be allowed in aircraft because there is the same travelling business population on planes as on buses and trams.


The conference continues tomorrow. See Agenda below.