HomeInsightsOfcom publishes statement on how it will protect radio astronomy and earth exploration satellite services against harmful interference from new mobile technology, including 5G services

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Ofcom is planning to authorise 5G services in the 26 GHz band. However, there is a risk that new services in 26 GHz could interfere with sensitive uses in the nearby 24 GHz band. Radio astronomers, as well as climate and weather scientists, use the 24 GHz spectrum band (23.6-24.0 GHz) to carry out sensitive observations and measurements. Ofcom says it is important to protect these sensitive services against interference from other services using nearby frequencies.

Following public consultation, Ofcom has decided that as well as implementing limits on out of band emissions from services operating in the 26 GHz band, it will adopt the following measures to protect the Radio Astronomy and Earth Exploration Satellite Services.

To protect earth exploration satellite services, Ofcom will limit the number of outdoor base stations allowed in any 300 km2 area in the lowest 800 MHz of the 26 GHz band (24.25-25.05 GHz).

To protect radio astronomy services, Ofcom will apply exclusion zones around the six radio astronomy sites that form the “e-MERLIN” telescope network, where 26 GHz base stations cannot be deployed outdoors.

For indoor use of 26 GHz, Ofcom has decided that measures in addition to limits on out of band emissions are not required. Therefore, it will remove the existing 1 km exclusion zones around the Jodrell Bank and Cambridge radio astronomy sites from the current 26 GHz indoor Shared Access licence product. To read Ofcom’s statement in full, click here.