The Australian STV industry makes extensive use of radiofrequency spectrum for a range of essential operational purposes, including:
- television outside broadcast (TOB) operations, including coverage of a comprehensive range of live sports and other outdoor events
- international satellite feeds
- delivery of STV services to subscribers using direct-to-home satellite services
- wireless microphones in studio and outside broadcast productions
- land mobile for television production communications.
Spectrum management and policy needs to balance at times competing public policy objectives, ensuring sufficient spectrum capacity is available for the effective operation of essential services, defence and other public interest needs, while ensuring sufficient flexibility for the market to efficiently and effectively determine allocations appropriate to the evolving needs of a communications environment constantly developing new technologies and services.
ASTRA considers that spectrum for commercial activities should be subject to price-based allocation processes, particularly where commercial entities that use spectrum for the delivery of their services are in direct competition. Market-based pricing of spectrum for commercial use is more likely to encourage the most efficient use of spectrum to provide the services that consumers of media and communications services want. Conversely, exclusive use of spectrum for commercial activities allocated by means other than market-based mechanisms may not necessarily provide the same incentive for efficient spectrum use, and will almost inevitably preference particular industry sectors to the commercial detriment of other participants.