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Ofcom Outlines UK Ultra Wideband
By: MarkJ - 13 January, 2005 (9:26 AM)

Ofcom has today published its proposed policy in respect to the use of Ultra Wideband (UWB) devices in the UK. UWB is a new wireless standard not dissimilar in intended use to Bluetooth, but much faster:

Ofcom is seeking views on whether such devices should be allowed, and also which technical restrictions would mitigate the risk of interference to other wireless services. Ofcom has set out proposals for such technical restrictions, and is also undertaking further analysis to determine the likely impact of any introduction of UWB technology on specific existing and future services.

Ofcom is required, under Section 3 of the Communications Act 2003, to secure the optimal use of the spectrum and secure the availability throughout the UK of a wide range of services. Section 4 of the 2003 Act requires Ofcom to promote competition and contribute to the development of the European internal market. Under Section 154 of the 2003 Act, Ofcom must also have regard to economic and other benefits that may arise from the use of wireless telegraphy.

Minimisation of interference

Identification and exploration of measures to avoid harmful interference, particularly to services such as 3G mobile, wireless broadband and radio astronomy, are a key priority for Ofcom. Ofcom recognises that the potential for interference, and the likely level of any such interference, needs to be weighed carefully against the potential benefits of introducing UWB.

The Mason / DotEcon study proposes a technical 'mask' - a set of requirements that all UWB devices would have to adhere to - which Ofcom suggests would significantly reduce the risk of interference to most spectrum users. Ofcom is also commissioning further research into specific areas as indicated in the consultation document.


UWB devices transmit signals simultaneously over a wide range of frequencies and are therefore capable of a far higher data transfer rate than devices using similar wireless technologies. The closing date for responses is 24 March 2005.


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