Ofcom sets out radio spectrum strategy
July 19, 2021
By Colin Mann
Supporting innovation is at heart of UK comms regulator Ofcom’s new strategy for how it will manage the nation’s airwaves over the next decade.
People and businesses rely on wireless services every day. Whether it’s delivering our news, connecting us to friends and family, automating factories or even monitoring changes in the natural world – wireless connections are essential to how we live our modern lives. All of these services rely on spectrum and it’s Ofcom’s job to ensure this finite resource is used in the best interests of all in the UK – helping to make communications work for everyone.
Ofcom’s new strategy – Supporting the UK’s Wireless Future – explains how it plans to do this during the course of the 2020s – ensuring everyone can access the airwaves they need to innovate and bring better services to people.
It sets out an ambitious vision focused on driving continued improvements for wireless services; helping businesses and organisations with specialised spectrum requirements access the airwaves they need; providing flexible options to support innovation; and ensuring the efficient use of spectrum so it can continue to transform the way we live and work.
To achieve this vision, Ofcom will be focusing on three areas in particular:
- Supporting wireless innovation: Ofcom will make it easier to access spectrum by allowing certain airwaves to be used for innovation while their long-term use is still being decided; supporting innovation in new wireless technology; and understand, assist and inform a wide range of organisations that could benefit from wireless services in the future.
- Licensing to fit local and national services: Ofcom will support the growing diversity of wireless services and providers by looking at further ways to give organisations access to spectrum on a localised basis – benefiting businesses like factories, remote farms and airports, which do not need to use spectrum across the whole UK. While still supporting larger services that need nationwide access, such as mobile.
- Promoting spectrum sharing: Ofcom will encourage better use of data and analysis when assessing conditions for sharing spectrum; wireless networks to be more resilient to interference from other users; and users to strike the balance between protecting their services from interference, while allowing other nearby users the flexibility to use their services.
With the strategy published, Ofcom will be working closely with businesses, public bodies and others to put it into practice and play our part in shaping the UK’s wireless future.