The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released a public discussion paper canvassing regulatory measures to provide enhanced protection for the Mid West Radio Quiet Zone (the RQZ) located in remote Western Australia and to further support Australia’s bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope.
Radio astronomy uses highly sensitive equipment particularly susceptible to unwanted radiocommunications signals. The RQZ was established in 2005 and aims to maintain the current ‘radio-quietness’ of a site in remote Western Australia (near Boolardy Station, around 200 km west of Meekatharra).
The discussion paper outlines additional measures to provide, for the first time, legislative protection to the RQZ. The proposed measures include:
· a radio astronomy band plan that will, among other things, replace Embargo 41 and largely duplicate its provisions;
· extending the lower boundary of the protected frequency range from 100 MHz to 70 MHz to enable the requirements of the SKA bid to be met;
· making consequential amendments to the Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan to enable the introduction of the band plan; and
· further highlight the proposed protection mechanisms by cross-referencing them in relevant spectrum, class and apparatus licence conditions.
Australia-New Zealand and South Africa have been shortlisted as two possible locations to host the SKA. An international consortium is expected to make the final decision in 2012.
ACMA's media release provides further information, and a copy of the public discussion paper is available.
The closing date for submissions is 5:00 pm, Friday, 19 November 2010.
Please direct any queries about the issues in the discussion paper or the consultation process to email@example.com.
Image: The candidate core site for the Australia - New Zealand SKA bid, the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO), in Western Australia.
Credit: Ant Schinckel, CSIRO.