Insights Ofcom publishes update to Electromagnetic Fields licence condition and guidance


Ofcom has published an update to the new electromagnetic fields (EMF) licence condition that it is proposing to apply to spectrum users, as well as new guidance on how licensees can ensure they comply with it.

In October 2020 Ofcom confirmed that it would be going ahead with its proposal to introduce new licence conditions to incorporate the limits in the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Guidelines for the protection of the general public into spectrum licences. This means licensees must operate their services within the ICNIRP Guidelines as a condition of their Ofcom licence, including keeping records of any compliance assessments.

The new proposed conditions apply to wireless equipment that can transmit at power levels above 10 Watts and Ofcom expects them to come into place no later than 18 May 2021. Licence holders will be given a grace period of at least six months to comply.

Following further consultation, Ofcom has now published a refined version of its licence condition, which it will use for the formal licence variation process, which is set to begin in March 2021. Ofcom has also published a refined version of its guidance and an updated EMF calculator.

Ofcom has also published the latest results from its EMF measurement programme, assessing EMF levels close to 5G sites at a further 11 locations across the UK. All the results have shown EMF levels to be well within internationally agreed levels for EMF exposure. This is consistent with Ofcom’s previous measurements. To read Ofcom’s statement in full and to access the licence condition and guidance, click here.