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Ofcom consults on unlicensed radio

Free spectrum for all

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UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom has published a consultation document which suggests expanding the use of unlicensed spectrum in frequencies over 40GHz, and for low-power technologies including ultra-wideband, and is looking for feedback before 21 June.

The UK already has the most unregulated radio market in Europe, and some claim that it's getting too unregulated. Ofcom, however, has always felt uncomfortable saying what people should use spectrum for and tried to reduce the regulatory burden wherever possible.

The proposal includes removing all license requirements from 59-64 GHz and 102-105 GHz bands, as well as devices operating within the UWB standard.

Really high frequencies are unlikely to get congested for a while at least thanks to their short range and poor propagation, while the very-low-power technologies such as UWB offer equally short range and are unlikely to interfere with anything other than each other.

In addition to the proposal itself, Ofcom has published an executive summary and plain-English explanation (perhaps more suitable for executives) of the proposals, as well as a guide for those wanting to comment before the 21 June deadline. ®

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