Austereo Splash Out On More Spectrum

A bevy of broadcasters have paid in excess of $7 million for more digital radio spectrum

At a time when Lachlan Murdoch has splashed out $110 million DMG radio, other commercial broadcasters have paid more than AUD$7 million to buy excess spectrum capacity on the commercial multiplexes in each of the five launch cities in an auction held late last week.

In Brisbane, the successful bidders were Austereo, DMG and Australian Radio Network (ARN) (capacity sold for up to 20 new audio and/or data services); in Melbourne they were Austereo, Sport 927 and Australian Radio Network (ARN) (up to 12 new audio and /or data services), in Sydney they were Austereo, Supernetwork and Australian Radio Network (ARN) (up to 12 new audio and/or data services); in Perth they were Grant/Capital Broadcasters and Austereo (up to four new audio and/or data services) and in Adelaide it was Austereo (up to four new audio and/or data services).

Under the digital legislation, each incumbent commercial radio station in the licence areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth has been allocated 128kb of spectrum on the commercial multiplex. Commercial operators are also required to reserve 2/9th of each commercial multiplex for joint use by wide area community stations in each licence area.

Spectrum remaining after the statutory entitlements of commercial broadcasters and communities are met is excess capacity. Under the legislation where demand for this spectrum exceeds supply, an auction must be held.

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