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Ofcom consults on future vision for spectrum

December 4, 2020

By Colin Mann

Supporting innovation is at the heart of UK comms regulator Ofcom’s new vision for managing spectrum in the future. To support innovation, it wants to make it easier for organisations to access the spectrum they need for new and exciting uses. For example, this could include remote healthcare applications to support people taking medication and in the future, 3D holograms.

Accordingly it has published its Spectrum Management Strategy, setting out its long-term vision for how it proposes to manage spectrum in the future. To deliver this vision, it is proposing action in three main areas:

Supporting wireless innovation

Ofcom plans to bolster its outreach work to help organisations looking at how they could improve the way they work by using spectrum for wireless services. Ofcom also proposes to free up more spectrum for pioneers – for people to develop new technologies and uses – for example providing instant wireless connections between machinery. This follows its decision to release 18.2 GHz of extremely high frequency spectrum to help spur innovation.

Licensing tailored to local and national needs

Ofcom wants to help a wider range of organisations access spectrum to get wireless services off the ground, by considering new options for localised spectrum access. Local access licences allow organisations and services that don’t need spectrum across the whole UK, including factories, airports and remote farms to be able to get the airwaves they need to use wireless technology.

Promoting spectrum sharing

Last summer, Ofcom opened up the airwaves, launching its spectrum sharing framework, which meant organisations could access spectrum that either wasn’t being used or could be shared between multiple users. Ofcom wants further to encourage sharing in higher frequency bands and also introduce new sharing tools. Ofcom also wants to ensure systems protect themselves against the risk of undue interference by taking action to fit more users in and encourage them to improve the systems they sell.

Ofcom invites comments on its proposals by 5pm on February 26th 2021.





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