Australian Wireless Audio Group (AWAG)

Download the AWAG Open Letter (PDF: 220Kb)
An open letter from Australian Commercial and Entertainment Technology Association (ACETA) and the Australian Wireless Audio Group (AWAG) and the Australian Music Association (AMA)

Digital Dividend Green Paper and Wireless Audio Devices

On January 11th 2010 the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy published the long awaited Digital Dividend Green Paper. This paper indicates how much spectrum within the broadcast services band the Australian government hopes to auction off and what part of the spectrum will be subject to this reallocation.

Since then the government has announced that it will auction off the right to use of 126MHz of contiguous spectrum from 694-820MHz, what is colloquially known as the 700MHz band for telecommunications use. This spectrum is known as the ‘digital dividend’.

While we acknowledge the desire of Government to maximise the asset and value that is inherent within the wireless spectrum AWAG has acted to ensure that the interests of both the sellers and users of wireless audio products are accommodated in any future re-stack of the wireless spectrum.

Through the Green Paper process and through other submission and meetings AWAG have sought to achieve the following outcomes:
That wireless spectrum remains available to users and that the available spectrum is sufficient to accommodate current and future use
That the uncertainty surrounding the future use of these products be resolved as soon as possible
That there is sufficient time between the determination of future spectrum access within the 520Mhz and the proposed 694Mhz band for organizations to make the necessary changes
That our right to use these products under the Low Interference Portable Devices (LIPD) licence arrangements is acknowledged and that similar arrangements continue into the future
That the Government recognise that there are costs associated with the change of spectrum, including the decommissioning existing equipment and its replacement with new equipment appropriate for use within the new and as yet to be determined, frequencies.

Wireless audio devices and the digital divided

The following three documents produced by AWAG outline the current situation and point to future needs and use.

If you want to know more about the Digital Dividend and how the changes make affect the use of radio microphone, instrument transmitters and in ear monitoring systems then Wireless Audio Devices and the Digital Dividend paper is a good place to start. It outlines the nature of the government changes to the broadcast spectrum and how they might impact on the use of wireless mics, in ear monitoring systems and other musical instrument transmitters.

If you want to know what’s at stake then the Windsor Place Economic Study – Untethering the Microphone will provide all you need to know. Wireless microphones and other wireless audio devices are enabling technologies and the Windsor Place report provides an independent examination of the value of wireless audio devices. In total, there are over 130,000 wireless audio devices being used across Australia every day. Because these devices are being used in a wide variety of industries and in a multitude of ways numbers, outcomes and consequences might surprise you.

In March 2009, AWAG took a snapshot of the use of spectrum by radio mics and other wireless audio devices in and around the Sydney CBD. The scan covered just five major events being staged that night at the Sydney Football Stadium, The Entertainment Centre, The Convention Centre, Capitol Theatre and the Lyric Theatre. The scan captured over 230 devices being used on these five entertainment events alone plus a further 60 systems being used in news and current affairs. To see how the spectrum was used you can view the AWAG Spectrum Map.

AWAG responses to the Government and Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) consultations

Over the past couple of years the Government and the ACMA have been consulting on a range of activities that are associated with the Digital Divided. AWAG has responded to each of these requests with detailed economic, social and technical assessments on the likely effects of the dividend on the use and users of wireless audio devices.

You can read each of the responses here:

The Government Green Paper
IFC Five Year Spectrum Outlook
IFC Reallocation of the 700MHZ band
Clearing the Digital Dividend