Ofcom updates Olympic spectrum plan

Ofcom makes plans for wireless 2012

Jill Ainscough, Ofcom's chief operating officer, said: "Consumers and businesses are using wireless technologies more than ever. In the UK, spectrum-related businesses account for one thirtieth of GDP and spectrum use is growing fast. For the London 2012 Games, this means that the demand for spectrum is likely to be at an all-time high. Add to this the fact that spectrum is already heavily used in London and you begin to appreciate that managing the airwaves is a complex task. This plan provides an important blueprint for how this will be achieved."

The regulator plans to  award spectrum in the next year or so to a band manager, who will look after servicing the needs of programme-making and special events users. It is also seeking access to an additional band for wireless cameras in the 2000 MHz to 4000 MHz range and clarification of the channels that will be available for wireless microphones and in-ear monitors.

Support for private mobile radio will be provided by the networks being built for the London organising committee of the Games or extended for the emergency and public safety services. Demand outside these networks will be met from spectrum in the normal bands for PMR, talkback and telemetry.

Most wireless microphones will only operate in UHF Bands IV and V, sharing with analogue and digital terrestrial television. The cleared spectrum available as a result of the switchover to DTT, including the 800 MHz band, should be available for the London 2012 Games. The regulator believes that modest improvements in the efficiency with which this spectrum is used would ensure that peak demand during the opening and closing ceremonies will be met with the available spectrum.

Ofcom is also expecting that demand for spectrum for wireless cameras will be high and is looking into the possibility of using some MoD and Civil Aviation Authority frequencies to meet this demand. It is also working with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to borrow spectrum used for maritime services. Spectrum will be made available between 2000 MHz and 4000 MHz, at 7000 MHz, at 10GHz and above.

The regulator also plans to streamline the way it licenses the use of satellite news-gathering equipment.

To ensure that the many types of equipment being used at the Olympics do not interfere with each other, Ofcom plans to run a scheme to test and tag equipment before and during the event, using on-site laboratories, as well as running on-site inspections of key radio installations.

The regulator also wants to run a team of interference management engineers from an office on-site to cut response times to a minimum. It is also examining the feasibility of establishing a network of sensors both within key London 2012 Games venues and outside these venues to allow it to rapidly locate the position of any interfering radio signal sources.

The full statement can be found here

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