Group responds to Ofcom Public Sector Spectrum Release consultation

Post date: Jun 3, 2014 8:56:00 AM

Extract from minutes of UK Children’s FM Working Group meeting 13 May 2014 which summarises the current OFCOM challenge:

On behalf of the Group Tony Murphy welcomed guests Brian Copsey and Andrea Saks. He expressed the wish that the group be proactive and work to protect spectrum for the benefit of people with hearing loss, with a mind to the future.

Brian presented to the group on the technicalities and possible implications of the consultation. He is coordinating on these issues for EHIMA. He offered to provide a copy of his consultation response, supporting documentation and correspondence to the group. In brief, the 2.3GHz - 2.4GHz band is currently allocated to the MoD in the UK and similar organisations in Europe. The 2.4GHz band is one of the most heavily used with billions of devices worldwide: Bluetooth, WLAN, baby alarms, etc and, of course, assistive listening devices and radio aids for deaf people. Ofcom are consulting on releasing the 2.3GHz - 2.4GHz band and it is most likely to be made available to mobile phone operators. (Ofcom may maintain a 10MHz "guard band" between the two bands.) There will potentially be base stations operating at 6KW and other short range transmissions to link mobile devices to the internet. In summary, there are a number of potential causes of interference to devices operating in the 2.4GHz band: blocking (from high power transmissions), out of band energy and intermodulation.

The deadline for responses to the consultation was Thursday 15 May and Brian suggested that members should respond, either as individuals or as a group. We should seek for Ofcom to protect the band, for the mobile industry to reduce interference and for manufacturers to work with Ofcom to carry out testing with Assistive Listening Devices. Following the consultation, the tender process is likely to start towards the end of this year. Similar activity is likely to take place across Europe. (The US situation is different.). In the future an information exercise may prove necessary, for example to recommend that transmitters are not sited on or close to schools, etc.

Brian offered to act as a coordinator for the group and to put us in touch with appropriate people. He shared some correspondence which he believes supports our concerns. It is unlikely that the plan to reallocate the spectrum can be stopped but it is possible that we can influence a change to the technical terms under which the spectrum users will have to operate.

The Ofcom consultation can be vewied here: