The UK Spectrum Policy Forum, the industry-led sounding board to Government and Ofcom, has today launched the first in a series of reports on UK Spectrum Usage and Demand. Based on research from independent experts Real Wireless and drawing on the inputs of a panel of contributors for each sector, the report includes views on the importance of spectrum as a national resource from the space, utilities, business radio, meteorology and mobile industries.
UK Spectrum Usage and Demand sets out the spectrum needs of different sectors in relation to their contributions to social and economic value. As such, the report reflects the sometimes contradictory priorities from different industries, with the aim of fostering open discussion and mutual understanding.
Raj Sivalingam, Executive Director of the UK Spectrum Policy Forum commented: "Spectrum is a hugely valuable, but limited, resource. The potential social and economic benefits are enormous, so it is important we fully understand future demand across multiple industries. Through extensive engagement we will be able to identify the spectrum pinch points, which will guide the future work of UK Spectrum Policy Forum, to inform future policy debates and maximise social and economic benefits from spectrum in the long-term."
The key sector trends identified by the Real Wireless report are:
- Public Mobile: increasing data consumption will put pressure on spectrum allocations, and change how spectrum is used by the sector.
- Utilities: the move toward 'smart' utilities will drive a move away from reliance on wireless, toward a combination of networks that can provide the necessary security and resilience.
- Business Radio: demand for always-on connectivity and increasing data usage are driving the move to digital radio. The nature of these communications requires a high level of resilience, and for some users this translates into a desire for dedicated spectrum bands in mission-critical scenarios.
- Space: a growth area for the UK, this sector needs to preserve and secure existing spectrum holdings and seek expansion opportunities to maintain innovation and investment.
Professor Simon Saunders, Director of Technology at Real Wireless said: "Real Wireless was commissioned to provide a snapshot of current spectrum usage and expected long-term future needs of the major users of spectrum in the UK. The report identifies the business and societal activities that depend on spectrum and associated drivers of value. We found that there are multiple industries with sometimes conflicting requirements, so the work of the Spectrum Policy Forum is of vital importance if UK industries are to get the most from wireless services. At Real Wireless we work to bridge that gap between the users of wireless and the suppliers of wireless services."
Today's report marks the first anniversary of publication of the UK Spectrum Strategy, which was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron at CEBIT 2014. A second edition of the report is planned for later this year, to cover Defence, Short-range devices & Wi-Fi, Broadcasting, Amateur Radio, Fixed Wireless Access and Transportation.
You can download the full report here.