Monday, November 22, 2004

UK Regulator Publishes Spectrum Framework Review

Ofcom, the official telecom regulator in the U.K., published the Spectrum Framework Review - its strategy for securing the optimal use of the civilian radio spectrum. Spectrum has traditionally been centrally allocated and managed by the regulator. This has resulted in an inefficient system that has limited the innovation and development of higher-value services.



Ofcom's Spectrum Framework Review sets out four key recommendations:



1. Allow the market to decide the best use for new spectrum allocations.

2. Allow licence holders to trade spectrum in an open market and change the use they make of spectrum rights to develop new technologies and offer different services to customers (also known as liberalisation).



3. Clearly define the rights of spectrum users, giving them the confidence to plan for the future.



4. Increase the amount of licence-exempt spectrum which allows businesses to develop and bring to market new technologies and services without the need for a licence.



Ofcom gradually plans to apply this market-led approach to over 70% of the radio spectrum (currently 0%). However, Ofcom will continue to maintain control over spectrum licences where:

  • Signals cross international boundaries;


  • International mobility is critical, or


  • the UK has agreed to harmonise spectrum use in line with important multi-national accords.


Beginning next month, spectrum trading will begin in the UK with the following licence classes:

  • Analogue public-access mobile radio


  • National paging


  • Data networks


  • National and regional private business radio


  • Common base stations


  • Scanning telemetry


  • Fixed terrestrial links


  • Fixed wireless access.


Additional licence classes will become tradeable next year. http://www.ofcom.org.uk

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