Ofcom gathering more spectrum to auction

Nov 22, 2013

If you ever get a chance, have a look at your country’s spectrum map or chart. That’s the document that outlines what spectrum is used for what by who. Odds on that huge mysterious swathes of that map will says something like ‘reserved for military use’. And you might wonder what, exactly, it’s being used for now.

You might ponder that in the ‘civil’ world we’ve been using clever digital technology to squeeze more and more into less and less and you might conclude that, since your military (probably) is shrinking in size, why they couldn’t shrink their spectrum use as well and hand some of the gold dust over to us to do useful things with.

These thoughts have always spun through dusty government departments and now the UK regulator Ofcom is doing something about them. It has identified spectrum in the 2.3 and 3.4 GHz bands, both of which are currently owned by the Ministry of Defence. It wants them for new broadband services.

And it’s located spectrum in the 700 MHz band, currently used for digital terrestrial TV, and in the so-called ‘white spaces’ between channels. Ofcom says the spectrum acquisitions could expand mobile data capacity by 25 between now and 2030.

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