Feeds

Ofcom sets 60GHz free

No licence required, indoors or out

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

UK regulator Ofcom has announced it will make 6.8GHz of spectrum - from 57GHz up - licence exempt for fixed-wireless links, unless you're too near the MoD.

The statement (pdf) follows a consultation on the subject which ran up until September, and generated a few responses that Ofcom has considered, and rejected. Anyone will be free to stick up a fixed wireless link in the open air, as long as they've got a 30dBi antenna connected to it.

The antenna requirement is about ensuring that connections are very directional, to minimise interference. Given the problems such high frequencies have getting through our oxygen-rich atmosphere, that's unlikely to be a problem anyway. Even at maximum power (10dBm), Ofcom reckons you'll be lucky to transmit over a kilometre before the oxygen adsorbs the signal.

It's that limited range which makes Ofcom so keen to hand over the spectrum for free. Ofcom's mandate is to ensure maximum use of the airwaves, which it usually does by selling them to the highest bidder, but the regulator reckons that the limited range at 60GHz means no individual licensee would be able to deploy in sufficient density to make maximum use of the potential, so removing the licence requirements fits its mandate.

That limited range also limits interference, though Intelligent Transport Systems UK and BAE Systems reckon that Ofcom should have reserved 63-64GHz for smart vehicles, with the latter arguing that the EU has mandated such use. Ofcom reckons the EU ruling only means that intelligent transport should be allowed to use the spectrum, not that it should have exclusive use.

There are three places where the Ministry Of Defence insists no-one uses the spectrum within 6km - South Uist and the south-western tip of Wales are hardly hot-spots for wireless connections, but anyone planning a radio link across RAF North Luffenham might want to take note.

They'll have to be another consultation before the required changes can be made to the regulations, but by next summer we should have licence-exempt access to the whole band. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms firm here
Is goTenna tech a goer? Time to grill CEO, CTO
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.