Ofcom consulting on releasing public sector spectrum

Ofcom, the Super regulator that has responsibility for spectrum allocation, is consulting on the planned release of MoD spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands.

The bands being made available are 2350 to 2390 MHz (40MHz) and 3410 to 3600 MHz (150MHz). It is expected that these bands will be licensed for use by mobile network operators for 4G/LTE services, though other broadband services could also be offered.

Unfortunately these bands are also used by amateur radio and it is likely that severe interference can be expected. Therefore Ofcom has proposed three recommendations to minimise interference.

  • i) Remove access to the adjacent bands
  • ii) Retain access to the adjacent bands on the current terms but with clarification of the notice period required for future amateur use to cease if amateurs cause interference to other users in the release band or the adjacent band
  • iii) Restrict amateur access to a smaller part of one or more adjacent bands.
Of these 3 Ofcom's preferred option is ii) whereby Ofcom will require amateurs to stop using these bands if there is interference to licensed users (with a notification period).

Ofcom wants to make changes to amateur licenses such that if the proposals are accepted would

  • i) remove the frequencies of the release bands from the licence.
  • We have set out three options for the adjacent bands and are recommending option two which if implemented would:
  • ii) introduce a procedure to enable removal of additional frequencies (i.e. the adjacent bands) to quickly if harmful interference arises in the future.
Though this will adversely potentially affect amateur radio users, the benefit to the overall population will be increased with access to more spectrum for LTE or other services.

The consultation has now closed.

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