Brought to you as a public service of the Open Spectrum Foundation (Stichting Open Spectrum), Amsterdam - Prague
"Within Australia there is no licence exempt spectrum... With respect to 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz, these bands are made available for [Wireless Access Services] under a class licence... Class licences are not issued to individuals and no licence fees are payable..." ---from The Implications of WiMAX for Competition and Regulation by Taylor Reynolds, OECD, 2005
The Australian Communications and Media Authority's Class Licences page.
Australia's Open Spectrum mailing list - launched in July 2006 to facilitate the founding of a legal entity to succeed the Community Spectrum Taskforce, organize a conference in 2007, and undertake other activities.
Section 47 of the Radiocommunications Act of 1992 says that "a person must not, without reasonable excuse, have a radiocommunications device in his or her possession for the purpose of operating the device otherwise than as authorised by: (a) a spectrum licence; or (b) an apparatus licence; or (c) a class licence..." Note that this criminalizes mere possession of an unlicensed radio with up to 2 years in jail even if the device has never been turned on!
"The radio manufacturing industry in Australia, led by George Fisk of AWA, lobbied the Government for the introduction of radio broadcasting in these early years. In May 1923 the Government finally called a conference of the main players. This led to the sealed set regulations where stations could be licensed to broadcast and then sell sets to 'listeners-in'. The receiving device would be set to receive only that station. 2FC in Sydney was the first to be licensed on 1st July 1923...
"However the sealed set scheme wasn't taken to by listeners, only 1400 people took out sealed set licences in the first 6 months of 1924. It was quite easy to avoid the licence fee by building your own set or modifying one you'd bought to receive more than one station...
"The industry realized it had shot itself in the foot with the sealed set scheme. It lobbied the Government to introduce a two tiered system, the 'A' licences to be largely financed by listeners' licence fees imposed and collected by the Government and 'B' class licences to be offered to anyone else who wanted to have a go. The B stations would have to generate their own revenue through advertising. 'A' class stations could advertise too but few did.
"By July 1924 the Government accepted this compromise proposal... The 'A' class stations were the original sealed set stations plus one in each other capital city... By the end of 1924 the number of listener licences was close to 40,000. It doubled to 80,000 by the end of 1925. The two tier system was working..."
The National ICT Centre's Gigabit Wireless project: "CSIRO is utilising the millimetre-wave spectrum above 55 GHz, which makes data speeds of 10 Gbps or more possible..."
"CSIRO speeds wireless chip to 80 gigabits per second," by Mitchell Bingemann, ComputerWorld, 13 April 2007. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is developing an integrated circuit for wireless transmission, mixing and amplification in the 180-220GHz band that relays data at 80GB/s. It claims the chip is "more cost and power efficient than current wireless chips [and] can be used in both indoor and outdoor wireless networking. Although signal strength in mm-wave chips can be affected by fog, rain and cloudy conditions, Guo said the improved data transfer rates and enhanced efficiency means signals could travel further and with superior direction than current mm-wave chip technologies..."
"Use of ultra wideband approved for the first time," ACMA Media release No. 24 (1 April 2004): "An application of ultra wideband (UWB) technology - a ground penetrating radar system - has been granted an interim licence by the Australian Communications Authority (ACA). This is the first time an application using UWB technology has been licensed in Australia...
"Ultra-Wideband Short-Range Radars for Automotive Applications," by Steven Forst, Tijana Zivanovic and Murray Delahoy, Radiofrequency Planning Branch Document SP 2/05 (November 2005), ACMA: "The 24 and 79 GHz bands have been identified for possible use by UWB automotive radars. However, because 79 GHz band technology is less developed, and is currently much more expensive, it has been argued that introduction of UWB SRR should be in the 24 GHz band... This report examines overseas regulatory frameworks and contains compatibility studies
between UWB SRR systems and potentially affected radiocommunications services and systems. The report concludes by recommending a radiocommunications [class] licensing arrangement that could support the use of these systems in Australia..."
"Push on for outback wi-fi 'hot spots'," by Chrissy Arthur, ABC News, 17 June 2011: "A project is underway in outback Queensland to establish wi-fi 'hot spots' in remote communities, many of which will not have access to fibre under the National Broadband Network (NBN). The Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPDB) is trying to establish public access to the internet in towns like Winton, Longreach, Aramac, Blackall, Barcaldine and Jericho. RAPDB spokesman Ted Burling says the hot spots could even provide 'whole-of-town' coverage in some centres... He says it will also mean a network of public internet access points for travellers across the inland. 'It's been done overseas and the beauty of this is, this is going to go national,' he said..."
"Family First senator calls for free wireless access," by Sandra Rossi, Computer World, 11 April 2007: "Family First senator, Dennis Hood, has called for blanket free wireless Internet coverage throughout Adelaide... 'With the use of just 20 or 30 medium sized antennas, we could be in a position to provide the entire CBD with free wireless Internet coverage', Hood said. At a cost of approximately $2 million to set up, Hood said the proposal is an investment rather than a cost to government. To access the scheme, people living in the CBD or commuters would need a wireless/Wi-Fi enabled laptop, computer adapter, or a compatible handheld device..."
"Broadband decision sublime or ridiculous," by Garry Barker, The Age, 4 August 2007: "Mystery and controversy have surrounded Helen Coonan's June decision to give almost $1 billion in direct subsidies to an Optus-Elders (Opel) consortium to provide a broadband service to regional, rural and remote Australia... The criticism centres on its suitability for the Australian bush... It uses open, unlicensed wireless spectrum in the 5.8 gigahertz band, which risks interference from other users and limits the 'throw' of the signal and its ability to penetrate buildings..."
"Wi-Fi hotspots help ferries cater to harbour site-seers" by Damien Murphy, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 September 2010: "It is an invisible revolution and it is gaining momentum. With many of Sydney's cafes, libraries and pubs already offering free or low-cost Wi-Fi access, the state government is joining the party, creating wireless hotspots on train stations and even ferries... this month, the government started another pilot program offering commuters Wi-Fi access at Circular Quay station. Commuters who log on to the system are limited to 20-minute sessions and a download of 50Mb..."
"Australian Defence Force RFID trial heads to Iraq," by Sandra Rossi, Computer World, 10 April 2007: "...The Deployment of RFID technology through 'Track and Trace' is a foundational element of the Joint Project (JP) 2077 program that will culminate in the delivery of a world-first Military Integrated Logistic Information System (MILIS) over the next three years... 'Track and Trace' uses active, battery-powered RFID tags on pallets and containers and is part of a global agreement with defence partners including the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. It will be interoperable with other RFID-based in-transit visibility networks..."
"Radio keeps tabs on the mail," by Ben Woodhead, Australian IT, 27 February 2007: "Australia Post has strictly mandated delivery timetables but, until last year, the way letters and parcels passed through most of its vast network was all but invisible. Until the middle of 2006 the organisation relied on a manual mail monitoring system that could only reveal when a letter went into the postal network and when it popped out at its destination. If there was a problem along the way that delayed the letter, Australia Post had no way of quickly identifying the bottleneck and rectifying the problem so it could meet a requirement that 94 per cent of standard letters be delivered on time. To solve the problem the postal service turned to radio frequency identification (RFID)..."
"Australian prisoners chipped as part of a new RFID trial," by Dylan Bushell-Embling, Computer World, 26 June 2007: "A new prison currently being built in Canberra is planning to trial an RFID tracking program for its inmate population, despite growing concerns it will infringe on inmates' civil rights... It will be the first prison in Australasia to use an RFID system at an estimated cost of $1.2 million. A department spokesperson said the program will act as a pilot for other Australian prisons... 'We're looking at integrating the RFID system with the CCTV system so that when an alarm goes off, the cameras will point to that position'..."
"Queensland Police plans wardriving mission," by Brett Winterford, IT News for Australian Business, 17 July 2009: "Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the Queensland Police, who today was honoured by security vendor McAfee with an 'International Cybercrime Fighter Award', told the audience at McAfee's Strategic Summit in Sydney that his unit is 'about to undertake a wardriving program, in which we drive through areas of Queensland trying to identify unsecured networks'. When unsecured networks are found, the Queensland Police will pay a friendly visit to the household or small business, informing them of the risks they are exposing themselves to..."