Decision to make The Wireless Telegraphy (Ultra-Wideband Equipment) (Exemption) Regulations 2007
1.1 This document confirms that, following a formal consultation, the Wireless Telegraphy (Ultra-Wideband Equipment) (Exemption) Regulations 2007 (No. 2084) (the “Regulations”) were made by Ofcom on 20 July 2007, and are coming into force on 13 August 2007. The Regulations can be obtained through the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI)[ (-1-)].
1.2 The Regulations exempt the use of spectrum by equipment using ultra-wide band (UWB) technologies. UWB is a generic term for technologies typically characterised by the emission of very low power radiation spread over a very large radio bandwidth.
1.3 Ofcom is required to comply with a European Commission Decision [ (-2-)] (the “Decision”), the implementation of which is mandatory on all European Union (EU) Member States by 21 August 2007. The Regulations implement the Decision before this date.
1.4 Before deciding to make the Regulations, in accordance with the requirements of section 122(4) of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 (“the Act”), on 5 June 2007 Ofcom published a Statutory Notice [ (-3-)] (the “Notice”) containing a draft of the proposed Regulations (the “Proposed Regulations”) and inviting comments from stakeholders.
1.5 Having carefully considered the responses to the Notice Ofcom decided to proceed with making the Regulations.
1.6 In the United Kingdom, Ofcom is responsible for the authorisation of civil use of the radio spectrum and achieves this by granting Wireless Telegraphy licences under the Act and by making Regulations exempting users of particular equipment from the requirement to hold such a licence. Under section 8(1) of the Act, it is an offence to install or use equipment to transmit without holding a licence granted by Ofcom, unless the use of such equipment is exempted.
1.7 Globalisation of the marketplace and increased interest from businesses in the potential of UWB technology has led to a growing need for more international solutions which utilise spectrum in a harmonised manner for UWB technology. UWB solutions now have the advanced technical characteristics necessary, for example, to allow for the co-location of multiple devices in a small area which is a requirement of the Short Range Device, consumer electronics, retail and logistics industries. Implementation of the Decision on UWB will go some way towards addressing these requirements and enable the benefits of this new technology to be realised.
1.8 Ofcom first consulted on policy considerations with respect to UWB technology in January 2005[ (-4-)]. The overriding view of stakeholders responding to the consultation appeared to indicate that in order to maximise the benefits available to UK citizens from the implementation of UWB technology, Ofcom should work with the relevant European bodies to achieve a harmonised approach throughout Europe for generic UWB devices.
1.9 After further stakeholder meetings Ofcom published a paper in September 2005 which set out the UK’s strategy for the implementation of UWB technology in Europe[ (-5-)].
1.10 The Decision to allow the use of the radio spectrum for equipment using UWB technology in a harmonised manner in the Community was published on 21 February 2007. The Decision requires that Member States make available the use of radio spectrum for UWB technology on a non-interference and non-protected basis.
1.11 The Decision was addressed to all Member States to implement as early as possible, but no later than 21 August, six months following the entry into force of the Decision.
1.12 Ofcom is responsible for implementing European Community legislation – usually in the form of European Commission Decisions – relating to radio spectrum. Such measures are binding on the UK and must be reflected in UK legislation.
1.13 Wherever possible Ofcom seeks to reduce the regulatory burden on its stakeholders. One way in which it can do this is to remove the need for spectrum users to apply for individual licences to authorise the use of radio equipment.
1.14 On 5 June 2007 Ofcom published the Notice which provided an opportunity for stakeholders to make representations about the Proposed Regulations granting an exemption to compliant UWB equipment as the means by which Ofcom intend to transpose the Decision into UK legislation (rather than seeking views on the content of the Decision itself).
1.15 12 responses were received from organisations in response to this consultation. These are available in full on the Ofcom website [ (-6-)]. In addition comments were received from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The majority of these responses were supportive of the proposals. A list of the respondents is set out in Annex 2.
Structure of this document
1.16 Section 2 of this document sets out the Scope of the Regulations and discusses the responses to the consultation and Ofcom’s comments.
1.17 A copy of the Regulatory Impact Assessment for the Regulations is available at Annex 1 to this document.
1.18 A list of respondents to the Notice is at Annex 2.
1.-A link to the online version can be found at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/uksi_20072084_en.pdf
2.-Commission Decision of 21 February 2007 on harmonisation of the radio spectrum for equipment using ultra-wideband technology in a harmonised manner in the Community (2007/131/EC).
5.-For more details see http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/uwb/uwb_statement/
The full document is available below