The Australian Communications and Media Authority has invited applications for 28 high powered open narrowcasting radio services to serve areas in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia

ACMA has set a reserve price of $4,000 for the Canberra licence and $2,000 for the remaining 27 licences. Applications for the licences will close at 1700 AEDT on Thursday, 30 November 2006.

ACMA is pleased to invite applications for these high powered open narrowcasting radio services  said Giles Tanner, General Manager of ACMA's Inputs to Industry Division. "The new services that result from the release of the licences will increase the diversity of services available to people in regional and remote areas."

Licences will be issued under a price-based allocation system. Under the system, if there is more than one applicant for a licence, an auction-style licence allocation exercise will be held at which the licence will be issued to the highest bidder. If there is only one application for a licence at the close of applications, the licence will be issued to the applicant for the reserve price.

Licences will be issued to successful applicants once certain requirements are met. Anyone interested in applying for any of the available licences may download an an information package titled Price-based Allocation of Apparatus Licences for Open Narrowcasting Services from the ACMA website. A non-refundable application cost of $550 applies to each application.For further information about the licences, please contact Megan Wynnik on (02) 6256 2827.Media contact: Donald Robertson, ACMA Media Manager on (02) 9334 7980.Backgrounder

Open narrowcasting servicesOpen narrowcasting services are broadcasting services that are limited in some way. This can be either because they are targeted at special interest groups, or are available in limited locations (for example sporting arenas or shopping centres), or are provided during a limited period or to cover a special event or because they provide programs of limited appeal. Over ninety per cent of currently operating narrowcasting services provide either tourist radio or racing radio services.

Features of the price-based allocation systemThe Radiocommunications (Issue of Broadcasting (Narrowcasting) Transmitter Licences) Determination which governs the price-based allocation system under which the licences will be issued, was determined by ACMA under section 106 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992.Under the system, if there is more than one applicant for a licence, the licence will be issued to the highest bidder at an auction-style licence allocation exercise, provided the price bid is at least equal to the published reserve price for the licence and the other requirements of the Determination are met.The highest bidder at a licence allocation exercise must immediately pay a deposit of 10 per cent of the price bid. Full payment for the licence (that is, price bid less the deposit) must be made by 4.00pm on the day after the relevant licence allocation exercise.

If there is only one applicant for a licence, a licence allocation exercise will not be held. The applicant for the licence will be issued the licence for the reserve price, subject to the requirements of the Determination being met, including payment of the price of the licence.

If a successful applicant does not meet all of the requirements of the Determination, the applicant will not be issued the licence. ACMA may then re-offer the licence.

The licence is subject to certain roll-out obligations: a licensee must commence to provide a service within six months of being issued the licence, or within such longer period as is notified in writing by ACMA.