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Ofcom looks to 5G and Internet of Things with spectrum review

Freeview television could be on the move too
Wed Apr 30 2014, 16:34

UK TELECOMS REGULATOR Ofcom has outlined plans for the allotment of radio spectrum over the coming decade.

Ofcom has detailed a number of initiatives, linked in part to government plans to release 500MHz of spectrum from the public sector, with an eye on 5G technology that is just around the corner.

At present 2.3Ghz and 3.4Ghz are used by the Ministry of Defence and these are identified among the first bands to be released. Licence exempt access will also become available in the 870-915MHz band, which will be reserved for Machine to Machine (M2M) communications that might include the Internet of Things (IoT).

Plans will be discussed that could see free to view direct terrestrial television (DTT) moved, following the successful digital switchover, to allow more of the 700MHz band to be used for mobile communications.

The study also examines ways in which different types of radio broadcast can coexist within the same part of the spectrum by examining ways of spectrum sharing with minimal interference through so called 'white space' technology.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said, "As we move to an increasingly digital infrastructure across our economy it is wireless services which offer some of the most exciting opportunities for growth and innovation. Our spectrum management strategy is aimed at ensuring the regulatory approach helps the UK take as many of these opportunities as possible."

While it's rarely in the public eye, the role of Ofcom in the allotment of radio spectrum has to be part of an international initiative to ensure compatibility between everything from heart-rate monitors to emergency service telecoms.

Space is becoming scarce, and this can have major knock-on effects for the public such as WiFi transmissions on 2.4GHz becoming untenably congested and 4G services having to be monitored for possible TV interference.

Ofcom has produced an interactive map of the UK radio spectrum that can be viewed here. µ


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