Ofcom spectrum boost for satellite gateways
August 18, 2023
By Colin Mann
UK comms regulator Ofcom has set out proposals to make more radio spectrum available for use by ‘earth station gateways’ – large dishes on the ground that connect a satellite network to the Internet.
Gateways allow satellite operators to support a range of broadband services in the UK, such as helping to better connect homes and businesses in hard-to-reach rural areas, as well as on trains, in the air and at sea.
They typically use 27.5 – 30 GHz spectrum (the 28 GHz band) for the Earth-to-space uplink transmission. Earlier this year, Arqiva returned to Ofcom 448 MHz of the spectrum it held in this band.
Ofcom is proposing to make this spectrum along with four ‘guard bands’ in the 28 GHz band available for earth station gateways. This would give operators a means to access more of the airwaves required for the gateways they are planning.
Gateways are placed at single sites and will only have a limited effect on other users.
Accordingly, Ofcom expects to be able to allow other users to share access to this spectrum in the future and will consult on this later in 2023.
The current consultation will close at 5pm on September 29th 2023.