Ofcom releases spectrum for wireless broadband

Ofcom has today published provisions for opening up the 71-76GHz and 81-86GHz bands to licensed fixed wireless broadband services.

Ofcom has today published provisions for opening up the 71-76GHz and 81-86GHz bands to licensed fixed wireless broadband services.

At present these spectrum bands are not in commercial use. The higher frequency bands could be used as alternatives to fibre optic cable. Possible data speeds range from 1-10Gbit per second over distances of 1-2km. In comparison, copper loop typically supports connection speeds of between 1 and 24Mbps.

The bands, which Ofcom plans to make available from spring 2007, will be licensed rather than auctioned, as demand for the spectrum is not expected to exceed supply.

The band's properties of high bandwidth combined with narrow beam signal technology mean that a very large number of broadband users could co-exist without interference.

Ofcom will adopt a flexible, light licensing process, with registration on a first-come first-served basis. Licensees will pay £50 per link per year and an unlimited number of assignments will be possible in the spectrum band. 

The licences will be tradeable and licence holders themselves will be responsible for managing any interference issues between links.

Today's statement follows a 10-week public consultation.

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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