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Independent regulator and competition authority
for the UK communications industries.

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Spectrum

Ofcom is responsible for managing civilian use of the radio spectrum. Our work involves releasing spectrum for new uses as well as developing policies to ensure that the spectrum is used efficiently.

Given the value to citizens and consumers of services that are enabled by spectrum, managing spectrum is a significant responsibility. To ensure maximum benefit is realized for UK consumers and citizens from spectrum use, we seek to provide efficient and effective access to spectrum, including incentives for its efficient use and to enable spectrum to move to higher value uses and users.

Our priorities for securing optimal use of spectrum for 2013/14 are outlined in the annual plan.

TV White Spaces
White spaces are the name given to parts of spectrum that are unused in a particular location and time. We are developing a regulatory framework to implement geolocation as a means of access to TV white space (TVWS) spectrum

Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE)
To undertake a strategic review of the use of spectrum by the Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) sector.

Clearance and Coexistence 800 MHz and 2.6GHz
Clearance, coexistence and remediation activities that will enable new mobile broadband (4G) services to be rolled-out to the UK.

Spectrum Release & Awards
600 MHz spectrum award
UHF: 700 MHz (potential spectrum release/award)
872/917 MHz spectrum release.
2.3 GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum release

Spectrum pricing policies

To consult on and implement spectrum pricing policies, including:

Annual licence fees for 900 MHz and 1800 MHz

Cost-based fees

Spectrum Pricing for Broadcasters


Spectrum Strategy 
We are consulting on our spectrum management strategy. This discusses how Ofcom has refined its approach to spectrum management in light of past experience. It also assesses how the demands of major sectors that use spectrum are likely to develop in the future. This has identified a number of areas where Ofcom plans to focus its efforts over the next ten years.

E-band Review (71-76 GHz & 81-86 GHz)
Statement published 16 December 2013 

 

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
As part of Glasgow's bid to hold the 2014 Games, the UK and Scottish Governments guaranteed the allocation of the spectrum required for the organisation of the Games. Ofcom is responsible for managing spectrum for the Games.

Spectrum Strategy 
We are consulting on our spectrum management strategy. This discusses how Ofcom has refined its approach to spectrum management in light of past experience. It also assesses how the demands of major sectors that use spectrum are likely to develop in the future. This has identified a number of areas where Ofcom plans to focus its efforts over the next ten years.

Mobile data strategy
We are consulting on our mobile data strategy. The consultation considers the challenges that rapidly growing demand for mobile data services could raise and what this may imply for Ofcom's work over the coming years. In particular, we identify a number of spectrum bands where we think further work should be carried out to consider their potential future availability for mobile data use, whilst recognising the many other competing demands for spectrum. Consultation published 21|11|13.

UHF: 700 MHz
In 2012 we set out our long-term strategy for UHF spectrum bands IV and V (470-862 MHz), including consideration of the future use of the 600 and 700 MHz bands. We are now progressing work towards the future implementation of this strategy.

Simplifying Spectrum Trading
In 2011 we introduced measures for a streamlined form of trading, called spectrum leasing.

Spectrum Pricing
Guiding principles that will be used to set fees for access to radio spectrum.

Spectrum Framework Review
Our first spectrum strategic review sets out our market-based approach to spectrum management.

Spectrum Trading and liberalisation
Ofcom introduced spectrum trading in 2004, enabling holders of WT Act licences to transfer all or part of their rights and obligations under the licenses to another party. Spectrum liberalisation complements spectrum trading allowing greater freedom to decide how to use spectrum by removing or reducing use or service restrictions.

There will be around 1 million tickets available for 17 different sporting events expected to attract nearly 3000 accredited media.

As part of Glasgow's bid to hold the 2014 Games, the UK and Scottish Governments guaranteed the allocation of the spectrum required for the organisation of the Games. Ofcom is responsible for managing spectrum for the Games, in accordance with these Government guarantees. This involves:

1. Estimating demand for spectrum and organising a full spectrum plan

2. Arranging all the spectrum licences in good time in support of the plan.

3. Resolving harmful interference caused by or to spectrum use associated with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

4. Implementing processes suitable for the high level of demand expected during the Games.

Planning is now underway for a pilot of innovative white space technology in the UK, among the first of its kind in Europe.

The technology uses gaps in radio spectrum, called white spaces, which exist in between frequency bands that, in this instance, have been reserved for TV broadcasting and wireless microphones broadcasting (470 MHz to 790 MHz).

Use of these white spaces will allow devices to transmit and receive wireless signals for applications such as broadband access for rural communities, Wi-Fi-like services or new machine-to-machine networks. Compared with other forms of wireless technologies, such as regular Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the radio waves used by white space devices will be able to travel larger distances and easily through walls as they would use UHF frequencies.

The use of white space technology will be one way of meeting the growing demand for mobile data in the UK.

More information can be found on the TV White-spaces page.

Latest Press Release 

Ofcom unveils participants in wireless innovation trial

Ofcom invites industry to pilot white space devices

Following the UHF strategy consultation and statement (11/12) we are now starting to consider how to implement the strategy and will undertake a range of activities to prepare for the potential future change of use of the 700 MHz band.

a) International engagement on harmonisation including future band plans for 700 MHz and frequency co-ordination negotiation relating to DTT uses;

b) Examining how and when a future change of use in 700 MHz can be secured to best serve consumer and citizen interests;

c) Exploring options to reduce costs and disruption associated with any future replan of UHF spectrum;

d) Working with multiplex operators to consider the necessary technical and regulatory changes to safeguard the benefits of DTT;

e) Enabling continued and future provision of PMSE and local TV services, and;

f) Supporting Government activities related to future decisions on spectrum allocation for emergency services.

UHF: 700 MHz - More information

On 24 April 2013, Ofcom published a call for input seeking stakeholder views on the future use of the 700 MHz band. The CFI closes on 5 July 2013.

Implementing Ofcom's UHF Strategy Call for inputs - UHF Strategy Implementation Team 23 May 2013

80dB DTT ACS - is it possible, and at what cost? Lewis Davies, Dr Antony Rix, 25th November 2013

Workshop on future DTT receiver performance, Presented by Ofcom & The Technology Partnership, 25 November 2013

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