AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Gov. dedicates radio spectrum for rail

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Four years of hard lobbying by the industry finally paid off last week with the Federal Government’s allocation of 1800 MHz radio spectrum to the Australian rail industry – a world first which will bring massive benefits to rail including up to 50% more trains at peak times and the move to a nation-wide interoperable system. </span> <p>The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has been in negotiations with the Federal Government for dedicated spectrum for rail for four years and the announcement by Anthony Albanese, transport minister, deputy prime minister and minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy, reflects a true victory for rail, particularly considering that spectrum is a limited resource and is in very high demand from other major industries, especially telecommunications.</p><p>Albanese, whose joint role left him well positioned for the announcement made late last week, said the dedicated 1800MHz band would enable state rail authorities to deploy next-generation wireless rail control and safety systems, allowing more trains to run with greater frequency.</p><p>“Enabling up to 50% more trains at peak times will result in the capacity of metro rail networks increasing by 51,390 additional passengers per hour in Sydney and 64,000 additional passengers per hour in Melbourne,” Albanese said.</p><p>ARA CEO Bryan Nye said the allocation of spectrum will enable metropolitan rail entities to deploy next-generation wireless rail control and safety systems, allowing more services to be run on existing networks safely.</p><p>According to Nye, harmonising the allocation of spectrum for rail across the continent also means the move to an interoperable system nation-wide.</p><p>“This will enable us to move quickly to Digital Rail Control Systems which will revolutionise train control and operation across Australia,” Nye said.</p><p>Nation-wide dedicated spectrum for rail is also a world first, he added.</p><p>“This allocation of radio spectrum for rail across the continent will not only allow for the uptake of advanced communication and train control technology, it has future proofed the industry and as such is a world first,” he said.</p><p>“The availability of radio spectrum to support the uptake of advanced technology [across Australia] is something that our counterparts in Europe and the US have yet to achieve and is the envy of the world.”</p><p>The government has allocated harmonised spectrum licences in the 1800MHz band to metropolitan rail entities at a public interest price, delivering an effective cost saving to the industry of $33.8 million.</p><p>The ARA is also lobbying for the dedication of the 400MHz spectrum band to rail users, but this campaign is ongoing.</p>