Feeds

Ofcom reserves spectrum for future inventions

Forward planning

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.