Public sector to benefit from bandwidth sharing

The public sector is set to benefit from the newly formed Bandsharing Forum, a not-for-profit organisation aiming to facilitate the sharing of radio spectrum controlled by the public sector.

The public sector is set to benefit from the newly formed Bandsharing Forum, a not-for-profit organisation aiming to facilitate the sharing of radio spectrum controlled by the public sector.

Despite demand for increased wireless bandwidth in the public sector, just three UK public bodies, the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), currently control access to more than 40% of the most useful radio spectrum, but it is not being fully used.

Last year, the Treasury called for increased bandwidth sharing to cut costs and increase efficiency in the public sector.

To help facilitate the move to shared bandwidth, a trials programme will be carried out, jointly funded by communications regulator Ofcom and the Bandsharing Forum.

They are working closely with the MoD, CAA and MCA when it comes to releasing new spectrum to the public sector.

William Webb, Ofcom head of research and development, said, “We welcome the launch of the Bandsharing Forum. This will enable us to engage with one representative industry body with regard to public sector spectrum issues, to ensure the most effective use of scarce radio spectrum in the UK.”

Tests have to be carried to make sure any new use of existing spectrum does not interfere with the country’s critical services.

Antony Abell, chairman of the Bandsharing Forum, said, “It is early days in the trials programme, but we look forward to reporting on progress over the months to come.”


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