HomeInsightsOfcom invites applications for new, shared spectrum licences

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In July, Ofcom announced a new spectrum sharing framework to help support innovation by allowing a wider range of businesses to access spectrum more easily. Under the framework, spectrum is available for local use in frequency bands that could previously only be used by certain parties.

Organisations can now apply for a new, shared access licence to use spectrum in bands ranging from 1.8 GHz to 26 GHz. These airwaves are ideal for setting up local wireless networks, which could benefit many different sectors across the UK, from farming to factories.

There are two types of shared licence available to support different uses:

  • low power licence: under this licence, anyone developing local wireless networks can use as many base stations as they like within a 50-metre radius, without further authorisation from Ofcom; and
  • medium power licence: this supports longer range networks and is generally available for rural areas only, to help ensure availability of spectrum for low power users.

Once Ofcom receives licence applications, it will co-ordinate access to the shared spectrum on a first come, first served basis for each location.

Separately, Ofcom has worked with the MOD to identify 168 MHz of spectrum between 7.9 GHz and 8.4 GHz, which is not being used in a variety of locations and could help meet demand for fixed wireless services.

As a result, organisations can now apply for a fixed link licence in the 8 GHz band using Ofcom’s point to point fixed link licence application form. Ofcom has also published guidance on where and how the spectrum is being made available. For further information on shared access licences, click here. For further information on fixed link licences, click here.