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Ofcom to award cheap wireless broadband licences

Telecoms regulator Ofcom plans to open up new spectrum bands to allow service providers to offer ultra high-speed wireless broadband services to companies.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom plans to open up new spectrum bands to allow service providers to offer ultra high-speed wireless broadband services to companies.

Ofcom intends selling relatively cheap licences to cover the sale of fixed wireless broadband services in the 71-76GHz and 81-86GHz bands.

At present, these spectrum bands are not in commercial use. However, new technology offers the possibility of applications for these higher frequency bands, said Ofcom.

These applications could include very high capacity, point-to-point wireless networks, which could potentially be used as alternatives to fibre optic cable.

Possible data speeds range from 1gbps to 10gbps over distances of 1km to 2km. In comparison, copper loop broadband networks typically enable connection speeds of between 1mbps and 24mbps.

Ofcom is proposing that the spectrum bands should be licensed on a first come, first served basis, rather than through an auction, which would have driven up the price.

The aim is to offer high bandwidth with a narrow beam so a very large number of users could co-exist without any interference. Demand for the spectrum is therefore very unlikely to exceed supply, said Ofcom.

A consultation is being run by Ofcom on the proposal until 2 August.

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