Public safety gets class licence for 4.9 GHz

Spectrum provides extra capacity when disaster drives data demand.
Credit: CFA Victoria

Credit: CFA Victoria

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has assigned 50 MHz of spectrum in the 4.9GHz band to public safety agencies.

The ACMA announced today it had developed a class licence providing access to the spectrum, which the agency said provides public safety agencies (PSA) with high capacity, short-range and rapidly deployable data and video communications.

PSAs are expected to use the spectrum mainly for mobile and point-to-multipoint applications, especially in disasters and other situations when data demand spikes, according to ACMA chairman, Chris Chapman.

Other possible uses include video surveillance backhaul and data linking from airborne platforms, Chapman said.

Compatible public-safety-grade equipment already exists for the frequency, which was identified internationally for public safety and disaster relief purposes, the ACMA noted.

Unlike regular licences, the class licence allows for ad-hoc, unplanned deployments to provide agencies with extra flexibility during an emergency, the agency said.

“PSA rely heavily on a broad range of radiocommunications services to carry out their responsibilities,” Chapman said in a statement.

“The 4.9 GHz band is part of a multi-layered approach that the ACMA has undertaken to meet the wide-ranging spectrum needs of PSA.

“The spectrum being provided to PSA comes from a number of frequency bands and offers a level of flexibility and interoperability that is frankly unprecedented. This will provide the basis for a state of the art, public safety communications ecosystem intended to serve the voice, data and video communications needs of public safety agencies well into the future.”

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