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By: MarkJ - 30 October, 2010 (12:33 AM)
uk mobile broadband spectrumCRFS, which develops and supplies real-time spectral monitoring and management systems, has warned the UK communications regulator ( Ofcom ) that its plans to auction licences in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz radio (wireless) spectrum bands for use by Mobile Broadband services should be delayed.

Ofcom intends to hold an auction in 2011 for 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum, suitable for delivering the next generation of Mobile Broadband (e.g. 4G , LTE , WiMAX etc.), which has been freed up through the digital TV switchover. However CRFS believes that further investigation is needed to establish what is, and is not, actually usable.

David Cleevely, Chairman of CRFS, said:

"The valuation put on some spectrum blocks by Ofcom is large - £2 – £3 billion for the 800MHz block for example. If there is interference, even at the margins, then the alteration in this valuation, albeit small in percentage terms, will amount to a large alteration in cash terms. Potential investors will need to understand the level of interference they will face. Therefore, there will need to be careful measurement of interference so that the regulator and investors understand exactly what is being bought and sold.

800 MHz is already used relatively lightly, and some bands could be used now. An example of that would be north of Glasgow where coverage at 800MHz is very low. A good use for this would be broadband wireless, so helping us build Digital Britain.

However, our experience shows that not all spectrum is clean, especially in dense urban areas. There are indications that even the 800MHz bands might have unauthorised use. Given that more intense use of this spectrum is planned, including the 'white space' between bands, we think further investigation is needed to establish what is, and is not, actually usable."

CRFS also claimed to have detected areas within the 2.6GHz spectrum block in which activity still exists, which needs to be clear and fit for purpose before any auction takes place.

However it is incredibly difficult to prevent unauthorised use of wireless spectrum bands, with networks historically adapting to work around such problems.
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