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Ofcom UK Considers Allowing 3.8GHz to 4.2GHz Spectrum Sharing

Thursday, April 14th, 2016 (11:37 am) - Score 1,080
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The telecoms regulator has today published a new Spectrum Sharing Framework and opened a consultation (Call for Input) to investigate whether radio spectrum in the 3.8GHz to 4.2GHz bands should be shared. The bands are currently used by satellite earth stations, fixed links and by the wireless provider UK Broadband Ltd.

Spectrum is a finite resource and Ofcom sees sharing it out more efficiently as one way to better balance against rising demand, which they claim could “bring about benefits to consumers.”

On the other hand existing licence holders might not be too pleased with the idea and indeed UK Broadband Ltd. has a UK-wide licence that includes 84MHz of spectrum at 3925MHz to 4009MHz, although they’ve only made use of it in certain areas (e.g. central London).

frequency-allocations-for-spectrum-sharing-ofcom-uk

Ofcoms Statement

Given the characteristics of use of incumbent Fixed and Fixed Satellite Services, we believe the 3.8 GHz to 4.2 GHz band has the potential to be accessed on a more intense shared basis by innovative applications with different requirements. In particular, some innovative applications might be able to use the spectrum on an opportunistic basis while other applications might, for example, require a defined quality of service but within a discrete area.

Our preliminary view is that we could develop geographic licences, which could enable the delivery of a defined quality of service, in spectrum currently not assigned on a geographic basis6 and separated from fixed links and satellite earth stations. We also believe at this point that it may be possible to consider facilitating opportunistic spectrum access across the band without causing undue interference to existing licences.

Ofcom notes that their Call for Input on enhanced spectrum sharing in the 3.8GHz to 4.2GHz bands will be open until 9th June 2016. Going forwards we’re also likely to see more spectrum sharing in other bands.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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