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Additional Information


The Australian government decided that apparatus (device-centric) licensing would not be able to cope with the anticipated rate of equipment change and laid legislative foundations for new methods of licensing: spectrum and class. Spectrum (space-centric) licensing would treat radio spectrum space as a commercial asset with a clearly defined utility under conditions of flexible use where technology and service would be determined by the licensee. Since 1997 the Australian Government has issued spectrum licences for radiocommunications in the 500 MHz, 800 MHz, 1.8 GHz, 2 GHz, 2.4 GHz, 3.4 GHz and 27/28/31 GHz bands.

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Authentic technology and service neutrality

Because different technologies and services utilise different amounts of spectrum space, technology and service neutrality can only relate to the spectrum access pathway. Neutrality means that given the necessary amount of spectrum space, all the rules necessary for access by all technologies and all services are provided by the initial licence conditions. This type of liberalisation minimises the cost and uncertainty of negotiation and provides consistent and agreed negotiation benchmarks for spectrum trading. The rules work to clearly define the real utility and hence value of a spectrum licence.

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Necessary precursors

Spectrum licences having authentic technology and service neutrality arose first in Australia because of the creative support provided by the following factors:

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World first

At the start of 2007, Futurepace had authorised over 5000 WCDMA (850 MHz) base stations in Australia using an online process during the previous 3 months. There was no need for negotiation for the authorisation of these stations just a requirement to place certified data into a central register. The process was fully self managed, business decisions were taken, stations deployed and authorised and all without reference to either the Regulator or adjacent spectrum licensees. Importantly the rules that allowed the authorisation of WCDMA850 in 2007 were truly technology and service neutral since they were provided to the licensee 10 years previously in 1997.

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Isolate spectrum spaces

Commercial certainty can only be achieved with rules offering explicit guardspace isolation under space-centric management. Guardspace isolation in relation to devices (device-centric management) has the same meaning as traditional coordination, i.e. specific minimum distance, frequency and time separation between transmitters and receivers in relation to all interference mechanisms, to supplement the hardware isolation provided in a device to ensure interference free operation. However, in relation to a spectrum space managed with explicit transmit rights (space-centric management), guardspace isolation means establishing minimum distance, frequency and time separation for the emission levels radiated at each antenna in relation to the geographic, frequency and time boundaries of that space as well as for all interference mechanisms.

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All the necessary inputs to new equipment design

The guardspace isolation is always the same, independent of whatever type of new device is being operated. Instead of having equipment design driving the levels of guardspace isolation (this is how device-centric coordination rules are designed), the process is reversed with the fixed guardspace isolation of space-centric management (the spectrum rights) driving equipment design.

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Full industry self-management

Spectrum rights formulated in this manner are quite unlike the Spectrum Usage Rights (SUR) being promoted by Ofcom and some USA commentators. Instead, they provide harmonisation of spectrum access including clear rules for dynamic spectrum access. A complete solution for industry driven innovation with all the necessary inputs to enable industry to independently:

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Futurepace has been active in international promotion of the method of Australian spectrum right formulation for many years. We have contributed papers to many consultations and have sought to maintain a professional publishing program in our area of expertise. Futurepace has presented overseas at the:

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Managing Director

Managing Director - Michael Whittaker

Michael.Whittaker@futurepace.com.au, B Sc. (Physics), Grad. Dip. Electronics, has over 24 years experience in radio spectrum planning, working for the Australian Government beginning 1984, pioneering automated frequency assignment systems and publishing in that field.

Michael led the introduction of flexible space-centric spectrum management techniques in Australia in 1994 becoming the principal architect of the manner of formulating conditions for flexible spectrum licences which consist of pure or explicit transmit rights i.e. rights that define maximum radiated power at an antenna rather than maximum field strengths away from antennas and which support either the outsourced or centralised regulatory authorisation of spectrum access for any type of technology and service.

When correctly designed, the practical effect of explicit transmit rights under space-centric management is to create precise levels of guardspace isolation separately for, and in relation to, all interference mechanisms so that licensees have all the necessary inputs to independently and without negotiation:

This approach is able to provide equitable spectrum access when dissimilar equipment is operated in adjacent spectrum spaces and create practical rules for authorising dynamic spectrum access by software reconfigurable devices.

Michael was chairman of the Technical Liaison Group in 1997, a government sponsored industry consultative forum which established the licence conditions for 800 MHz and 1.8 GHz spectrum licences. Michael also later designed the 28/32 GHz and 3.4 GHz spectrum licence conditions and is now the managing director of Futurepace RF Solutions designing web-based online transmitter certification and authorisation services for outsourced self-management of interference, incorporating automated compliance and coordination checks as well as integration of real time EMF/EMR human exposure management for complex shared sites.

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Journal publications

Journal publications by Michael include:

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