Feeds

UK government looks for 500MHz spectrum

If the Americans can do it, then so can we

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills reckons there's 500MHz of spectrum that can be sold off to bring faster wireless to the masses, but finding it might prove tricky.

The promise comes as part of Britain's Superfast Broadband Future, which iterates a government target to find an additional 500MHz of spectrum, below 5GHz, which can be released as part of a multi-technology approach to connecting up the entire country.

But PolicyTracker's Michael Newlands has been hunting around and can't seem to find out where all this spectrum is going to come from.

He started with Ofcom, the UK regulator with responsibility for radio spectrum, who ducked the issue neatly, saying: "With it being a government issue, it’s for them to provide the detail". When the question was put to the department that produced the document, PolicyTracker was told that it was "under review", but that there would be little trouble as "the public sector has a lot of spectrum".

The document itself (pdf) provides little guidance, only suggesting that the Ministry of Defence has a a load of frequencies going spare – but the MoD's plans have been on hold while it deals with the various wars in which it is embroiled, and a rep told PolicyTracker that nothing would come to market until 2013.

The problem with MoD spectrum is that it's very rarely solely used by the MoD... Great swathes of frequency are marked as belonging to the MoD, which tolerates a multitude of other users on the condition that they suffer the consequences if the army decides to start broadcasting. Once the frequencies are in private hands, the new owners are unlikely to be so forgiving.

PolicyTracker points out that with the UK mega-auction – 250MHz of spectrum split between 800MHz (digital dividend) and 2.6Ghz – not happening until 2013 we're not going start deploying LTE (4G) wireless until 2014, which isn't going to get us the best broadband in Europe by 2015 despite the government plans – Germany starts rolling out LTE next week.

There's another 56Mhz of ex-analogue TV spectrum around 400MHz, which is also going to be up for grabs, but all those blocks are supposed to be in addition to the new 500MHz which is apparently going to come from the public sector users.

So why the sudden decision to find another 500MHz of spectrum by 2020? Could it be in any way related to the FCC's plan to find exactly the same quantity of spectrum, over exactly the same time period?

We're used to blindly following an American lead in many things, but until recently the FCC has been following Ofcom's policies in many things. If we start following them, surely we'll all just end up going in circles. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Will BlackBerry make a comeback with its SQUARE smartphones?
Plus PC PIMs from company formerly known as RIM
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.