Feeds

Ofcom to borrow cup o' spectrum for Olympics

Using less than a third the engineers Beijing had

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Ofcom is laying the groundwork for the London Olympics, outlining plans to borrow radio spectrum, but will be running the event with a fraction of the engineering resource of its Chinese predecessor.

The UK government promised free radio spectrum as part of its bid to host the 2012 Olympics, but has left it up to Ofcom to arrange the details, which include borrowing spectrum from the MoD and pushing into the Digital Dividends, and policing the whole thing with only 32 engineers compared to Beijing's complement of more than 300.

But that's OK 'cos other countries will be expected to chip in some technical support too. Add those people in, plus a few old chaps brought out of retirement, and the UK will be fielding an "especially large team" team of 90 - that's "especially large" compared to Ofcom's usual staff, not Beijing obviously.

That's just field engineers of course - the operation will mostly be about paper-pushing and ensuring everyone knows which band they're supposed to be using. Ofcom estimates it's going to need 350 wireless microphones, 75 HD video streams (three airborne) and 781 talkback channels for the games, so will be filling every spare frequency it can find.

The Apollo network, a mobile telephone network being built specifically for the running of the Games, has been up and running for the last six months (at 385MHz), but at least no one was interested in running an Olympic DAB radio station, or ever fulfilled Boris Johnson's dream of broadcast video sent to the phones of spectators who couldn't get a decent view. Both those services were offered free radio spectrum, but despite that no one was interested in offering either of them.

Just managing who gets which frequency is a major logistical challenge, and one which is open to abuse in the famously incestuous world of entertainment technology: it's hard to impartially allocate spectrum when one might have been working, or hope to work, for one of the companies involved.

Luckily there's plenty of space where analogue TV used to be, which hasn't yet been sold off, and the MoD will lend some of the huge swaths of radio spectrum it has allocated, so as long as no more than 32 people break the rules at the same time everything should be just fine. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.