Consultation: Supporting the UK’s wireless future – Ofcom spectrum management strategy for the 2020s

Posted on: 12/02/2021

This document proposes how Ofcom will manage use of the radio spectrum and includes sections on supporting wireless innovation, licensing to fit local and national services and promoting spectrum sharing. For your opportunity to respond to the consultation which closes on 26th February, please click here.

Statement from Ofcom: “To deliver our vision for the future use of spectrum, we are proposing action in three main areas. These build on our existing approach of relying on market mechanisms where possible and using regulatory levers where necessary:Supporting wireless innovation: We are proposing to make it even easier to access spectrum by:

  • Expanding our work to understand, assist and inform the wide range of organisations who may benefit from wireless technologies in the future;
  • Making more spectrum available for innovation before its long-term future use is certain;
  • Working to support innovation in new wireless technologies, including by influencing international standards and decisions so they are flexible enough to support new uses.

Licensing to fit local and national services: We are proposing to support the growing diversity of wireless services and providers by considering further options for localised spectrum access when authorising new access to spectrum. Local access can suit a range of businesses and specialised services at sites like factories, airports and remote farms, which do not need to use spectrum across the whole UK. Larger, including national, licences can support wide coverage for public mobile services.

Promoting spectrum sharing: Spectrum is a limited resource, so as innovation stimulates greater demand for spectrum, it’s even more important for users to share access with others. Technology can help by providing new sharing tools and by creating the opportunity for a fresh approach to sharing in higher frequencies. Building on existing work, we’re proposing to encourage:

  • Use of better data and more sophisticated analysis when assessing the conditions for sharing;
  • Wireless systems to be more resilient to interference from their neighbours;
  • An efficient balance between the level of interference protection given to one service and flexibility for others to transmit.”

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