Feeds

Scotland Mountain Rescue turns on Ofcom

Volunteers asked to put anger into words

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Volunteer mountain-rescue staff in Scotland are being asked to write to the UK regulator Ofcom to complain about increased spectrum prices that could drive them out of the life-saving business.

The BBC reports that the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland has asked its members to write to the regulator in response to the current consultation on Maritime and Aeronautical radio use, which is open until the end of October, complaining that the "Administered Incentive Pricing" proposed will cost the charity thousands of pounds it doesn't have.

The situation is similar for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute: which currently pays a discount rate of £38K for a licence around 156Mhz, but could end up with a bill knocking quarter of a million quid, annually. Even if they retain their 50 per cent discount, that's another £100K the charity is going to have to find if lifeboats are going to be able to talk to each other and the shore.

The problem is one of ideology: Ofcom believes that to ensure licensees value, their spectrum properly they must pay a market price for it. If they don't value it, then they have no motivation to use it efficiently. The best way to establish a market price is by auction, but for some spectrum, that's not suitable. It would be harsh to expect the Ministry of Defence to get into a bidding war with a foreign telco, so in such cases Ofcom adopts a formula known as Administered Incentive Pricing to work out what the spectrum would be worth on the open market.

In the case of the MOD that has worked well - the forces have agreed to give up great swaths of spectrum they weren’t really using and will pay market rates for the rest of it, being as the money comes from - and goes to - the treasury it's just a matter of book-keeping.

But - incredible as it seems for a small island - our lifeboats are a charity paid for by public donations. The same thing applies to Mountain Rescue in parts of Scotland and many local rescue services, so these groups are going to have to stump up a lot more money if they want to keep spectrum for the dull business of saving lives rather than delivery of multimedia Web 3.0 experiences that the highest bidder is likely to want to provide.

Any attempt to give the spectrum away for free, such as exempting life-saving services, would undermine the premise that cost makes for efficient use of resources - in case anyone's forgotten, optimal use of the electro-magnetic spectrum is the primary remit of the regulator. So the stand-off has no obvious resolution, until Scotland's mountain rescue decides to issue bagpipes instead of radios - or Ofcom changes its basic philosophy. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
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.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.