Ofcom are consulting on their new Spectrum Management Strategy

Their new strategy is designed to encourage people and organisations to launch new and innovative wireless services. The deadline to respond is 26 February 2021.

Today the UK regulator for communication services, Ofcom, published their new vision for managing spectrum in the future, which they are inviting comments on.

Radio spectrum benefits every person and organisation in the country. These invisible waves are used for all wireless communications and they are managed by Ofcom. Ofcom want to support innovation by making it easier for organisations to access the spectrum they need for new and exciting uses.

Given this within the spectrum management strategy Ofcom set out how they propose to manage use of the radio spectrum over the next ten years. It therefore has far reaching implications.

Their vision is set out in three broad areas:

  • Supporting wireless innovation
  • Licensing to fit local and national services
  • Promoting spectrum sharing

These three areas are rather detailed in the strategy so we encourage you to read the document in full.

In many cases Ofcom consider their existing spectrum management tools and approaches are likely to provide sufficient flexibility to adapt to future developments and help them achieve their objectives.

This is not Ofcom’s first strategy for managing the radio spectrum, that was published in 2005 and most recently updated in 2014. From 2005 to now wireless communications in the UK have changed significantly and this is acknowledged in the strategy.

Ofcom confirmed that separate to this consultation they will continue to undertake reviews of specific spectrum using sectors (e.g. space, mobile) and develop roadmaps for their work in those areas.

Responding to the consultation and next steps

The deadline for comments to this is 17:00 on 26 February 2021. techUK will be consulting members on if they want to respond. Please get in touch if you would like to be involved in this conversation.

Following the publication of the consultation Ofcom will be holding a virtual stakeholder event on their proposals – details will be on their website in due course.

Once the deadline has passed and comments have been reviewed, they expect to publish their conclusions in Q2 2021/22.

Sophie James

Sophie James

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Sophie James is Head of Programme for Communications Infrastructure and Services at techUK, and oversees the UK Spectrum Policy Forum.

Sophie was promoted to Head having been Programme Manager for Communications Infrastructure and Services, leading techUK's telecoms activities, engagement and policy development. Previously, Sophie was Programme Assistant across a variety of areas including the Broadband Stakeholder Group, Central Government, Financial Services and Communications Infrastructure programmes.

Prior to joining techUK, Sophie completed a masters in Film Studies at University College London; her dissertation examined US telecoms policy relating to net neutrality and content distribution.

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020 7331 2038

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