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Grant of multipoint distribution system licences expected soon



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J,. A U S T R A L I A ■ti' Minister for Transport and Communications Senator Gareth Evans Q.C. 10 June 1988

63/88

GRANT OF MULTIPOINT DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM LICENCES EXPECTED SOON

The Minister for Transport and Communications today announced

that the first licences for multipoint distribution systems (MDS)

in accordance with the frequency band plan are expected to be

granted in July 1988. Under the plan the 19 channels available

in each location will be assigned in two stages.

In Stage I (1988-1990) 13 of the 19 channels will be able to be

used at each location for the transmission of various categories

of non-entertainment services. In Stage II (1990 plus) up to six

licences may be considered subject to a review of pay television

currently underway. It is envisaged that any use of these

frequencies for pay TV purposes after 1990 would be for

translators i.e. for secondary rather than primary delivery

purposes.

The frequency band plan comes into force upon notification in the

Gazette. On 20 April the Minister published a draft version of

the plan for comment by interested parties and reaction had been

generally favourable.

The Minister said that, as a matter of government policy,

preference for the initial licensing from among expressions of

interest for MDS received up to the plan taking effect would

be in accordance with the following order of priority:

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY C. I. s.

2 .

Category (1) text and graphics;

Category (2) text, graphics and still pictures;

Category (3) text, graphics, still pictures and sound;

Category (4) non-entertainment video, which may include (1), (2)

and (3) ;

Category (5) entertainment video, including Pay TV.

Within each category the transmission of time sensitive services

would generally be licensed in preference to transmission of

services which were not time sensitive.

The Minister stated that, in view of the several hundred

expressions of interest to be considered, it was necessary to

evaluate those on hand to date in accordance with the policy for

MDS and the order of priority. Following evaluation and offers

of licences, applications received after 9 June would be

evaluated according to their order of lodgement and licences

issued up to the limit of available frequencies.

MDS licensed during Stage I would typically transmit the

following types of material:

. Category 1: stock and commodity exchange prices, directed to

brokers, fund managers etc.

. Category 2: real estate information, directed to agents.

3 .

. Category 3: general information and news concerning emergency

services directed to State Emergency Services, police, fire

brigades, ambulance etc.

. Category 4: medical and health related material, directed to

doctors, nurses, pharmacists, students, community health

centres.

"Now that the MDS frequency band plan has been made and the

Government policy on licensing of MDS has been settled, the

general licensing of services using MDS should be able to proceed

smoothly" the Minister said.

CANBERRA

For further information;

Department: Peter Westerway (062) 64 4601

Minister's Office: Brian Hill (062) 72 7301

Mick Trimmer (062) 72 7301