Outline of the role of Spectrum Engineering and Enforcement
Technological advances mean that the demand of radio for broadcasting, business and leisure purposes continues to expand rapidly. The use of radio is carefully planned to provide as high a standard of service as possible but unauthorised or illegal use of radio can cause harmful interference to legitimate users.
Safety of life may be put at risk if, for example, radios used by the emergency services suffer interference. The successful running of a business can be affected by interference to radio communications systems and TV viewers and radio listeners can be prevented from enjoying their favourite programmes. This is why Ofcom has to take appropriate enforcement action against the misuse of radio and why the penalties that may be imposed by the courts for unlawful use can be heavy. The main tasks of local spectrum management are to:
1. Ensure that the use of radio and radio frequencies throughout the spectrum conforms to licence requirements.
2. Investigate and take action to prevent undue interference.
3. Ensure that non-compliant radio equipment is kept off the market.
4. Provide advice on radio communications and interference questions.
5. Consult with the users of the spectrum and act as facilitators as much as possible.
Priorities are to deal first with interference which could endanger Safety of Life services, secondly to deal with problems which could disrupt the running of business and services and then to deal with all other radio user problems.
The majority of prosecutions, as the prosecution statistics demonstrate, are brought against the operators of illegal broadcasting stations where, in many cases, the poor quality of the equipment used causes interference to other radio users.