Feeds

Ofcom reserves spectrum for future inventions

Forward planning

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Technologies that have yet to be invented may be reserved their own piece of spectrum when analogue television is switched off. Regulator Ofcom has said it could reserve spectrum specifically for as-yet-unimagined services.

Switch-off will occur in stages between 2008 and 2012, releasing a huge amount of very valuable spectrum useful to broadcasters, mobile phone companies, and users of wireless sound and data services.

Ofcom has outlined its proposals for how the large pieces of spectrum to be released by analogue switch-off will be used. Almost all of it will be auctioned on the open market in a similar way to 3G spectrum in 2000.

Then the public purse gained from dot-com fever as telcos participated in a frenzied auction that drove the total paid to £22.5bn. That sum is not thought likely to be raised again: Ofcom says the spectrum in hand will create £5bn to £10bn of economic value over 20 years, so prices paid will be a fraction of that.

A portion, though, may be held back for services which do not yet exist. "Ofcom is consulting on whether to hold back a small amount of spectrum until after digital switchover to ensure that potential new developments in technology in the future – such as new low-power wireless uses – have access to UHF (ultra high frequency) spectrum," said an Ofcom statement.

As more and more services become wireless, spectrum is likely only to become more valuable. Ofcom has said it will auction the spectrum and that it will sanction an after-market in traded spectrum. "Licences would be tradeable and liberalised to allow users the flexibility to decide what technology to use, what services to offer, and to change their use of the spectrum over time," said Ofcom.

Ofcom says it will not allocate spectrum by deciding what is the most appropriate use. "To do so would distort incentives," said Ofcom, "and assumes that the regulator can make better decisions than the market, when in reality there is significant uncertainty and information is limited."

Ofcom said it would make some exceptions, reserving some spectrum for specific uses. One of these is local television, and it said it wants to divide a part of spectrum into 40 geographical segments to allow for separate broadcasts to 40 regions of the UK.

Consultation on Ofcom's spectrum proposals is now open.

See: The consultation

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
What's the nature of your emergency, Vodafone?
Oh, you've dialled the wrong number for ad fibs, rules ASA
EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder
Carrier is 'aware' of cockup, working on a fix NOW
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.