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 pricing policies
To consult on and implement spectrum pricing policies, including:
Annual licence fees for 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. Consultation planned for Q2 2013/14
Cost-based fees. Consultation planned for Q1/Q2 2013/14
Spectrum Pricing for Broadcasters
We plan to refresh our spectrum management strategy and develop a new forward-looking work programme to help us implement this.
Mobile Data Strategy
This will include setting out a longer-term road map for the provision of spectrum for mobile data to meet the growing demand for wireless services by consumers. Consultation planned for Q3 2013/14.
E-band Review (71-76 GHz & 81-86 GHz)
Consultation planned for Q1 2013/14
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.
The following documents outline our strategic approach and the tools by which we manage spectrum.
Securing optimal use of the radio spectrum.
Ofcom introduced spectrum trading on 23rd December 2004, enabling holders of WT Act licences to transfer all or part of their rights and obligations under the licenses to another party.
Ofcom introduced spectrum trading on 23 December 2004 enabling holders of WT Act licences to transfer all or part of their rights and obligations under the licences to another party. Spectrum liberalisation compliments spectrum trading allowing greater freedom to decide how to use spectrum by removing or reducing use or service restrictions.
Guiding principles that will be used to set fees for access to radio spectrum.
We have 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
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:
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.
Ofcom is planning 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.
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 data in the UK.
Latest Press Release
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.
International engagement on harmonisation including future band plans for 700 MHz and frequency co-ordination negotiation relating to DTT uses;
Examining how and when a future change of use in 700 MHz can be secured to best serve consumer and citizen interests;
Exploring options to reduce costs and disruption associated with any future replan of UHF spectrum;
Working with multiplex operators to consider the necessary technical and regulatory changes to safeguard the benefits of DTT;
Enabling continued and future provision of PMSE and local TV services, and;
Supporting Government activities related to future decisions on spectrum allocation for emergency services.
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.