Insights Ofcom consults on statement on its spectrum management strategy for the 2020s


Ofcom’s new strategy, “Supporting the UK’s Wireless Future”, explains how the regulator plans to ensure that spectrum is used in the best interests of all in the UK during the course of the 2020s, ensuring everyone can access the airwaves they need to innovate and bring better services to people.

Ofcom calls the strategy an “ambitious vision” focused on: (i) driving continued improvements for wireless services; (ii) helping businesses and organisations with specialised spectrum requirements access the airwaves they need; (iii) providing flexible options to support innovation; and (iv) ensuring the efficient use of spectrum so it can continue to transform the way we live and work.

To achieve this vision, Ofcom will be focusing on three areas in particular:

  • supporting wireless innovation: Ofcom will make it easier to access spectrum by: (i) allowing certain airwaves to be used for innovation while their long-term use is still being decided; (ii) supporting innovation in new wireless technology; and (iii) understanding, assisting and informing a wide range of organisations that could benefit from wireless services in the future;
  • licensing to fit local and national services: Ofcom will support the growing diversity of wireless services and providers by looking at further ways to give organisations access to spectrum on a localised basis, benefiting businesses such as factories, remote farms and airports, which do not need to use spectrum across the whole UK, while still supporting larger services that need nationwide access, such as mobile; and
  • promoting spectrum-sharing: Ofcom will encourage: (i) better use of data and analysis when assessing conditions for sharing spectrum; (ii) wireless networks to be more resilient to interference from other users; and (iii) users to strike the balance between protecting their services from interference, while allowing other nearby users the flexibility to use their services.

With the strategy published, Ofcom says that it will be working closely with businesses, public bodies and others to put it into practice. Ofcom is consulting on the strategy until 26 February 2021. To read Ofcom’s press release in full and for links to the strategy statement and consultation, click here.