UK Government Wants To Free Up 800MHz Spectrum Band

UK communications watchdog Ofcom has announced a new consultation that intends to release more of the TV and radio spectrum in the 800MHz band, a part of the spectrum quite apt for mobile broadband services.

The move is said to be in line with the announcement of other EU member states, which have planned to free up larger broadband spectrum than what has been planned by Ofcom, as the spectrum announced by EU states includes 72MHz with frequency band between 790MHz and 862MHz, as against 48MHz announced by Ofcom that sits between 806MHz to 854MHz.

Previously, Ofcom had plans to use channels 61 and 62 for digital TV broadcasting, and channel 69 for special events and programme-making, particularly wireless microphones.

All these channels lie in the 800MHz spectrum that Ofcom has intended to release, therefore the regulator is now suggesting moving these channels to lower frequency bands so as to free up larger amount of spectrum in the given region.

Ofcom asserted that making the whole spectrum of 800MHz available could offer the benefits worth £2-3billion over the twenty years down the line, and the benefits could include more efficient use of spectrum and lower equipments costs, to enhanced opportunities for the next generation mobile broadband.

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Our Comments

There will almost certainly be a heated debate as to whether the current users of the 800MHz band should move and if they do, who is going to foot the bill. As Rupert Goodwins of ZDNet says, some devices like Microphones and other entertainment infrastructure peripherals need to remain analogue or otherwise there will be a noticeable lag. But whether they can possibly oppose what seems to be the Ofcom's desire to free up that band remains to be seen.

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