Vaizey promises ‘mechanisms’ to meet spectrum needs

Ed Vaizey says 4G roll-out is not enough and more spectrum must be freed up to support UK businesses

Ed Vaizey has pledged to push for the release of more spectrum to help UK businesses benefit from emerging technologies.

During a speech to the Oxford Media Convention, the minister for culture, communications and creative industries outlined the findings of the upcoming communications review whitepaper from his department, with connectivity issues featuring heavily.

While he celebrated the progress that had been made on auctioning off 4G spectrum – the bidding process began today – Vaizey admitted “rolling out 4G isn’t enough” to get the UK ahead.

“Spectrum has many uses and there is a real need for more spectrum to be freed up and for the spectrum available to be better used,” he said.

“It needs to be used more flexibly; it needs to be allocated and re-allocated faster; it needs to meet the requirements of emerging technologies. In short, it needs to support businesses to let them deliver for consumers.” 

Vaizey claimed the UK government had “the world’s most ambitious programme” for freeing up spectrum owned by the public sector – just last month the Ministry of Defence announced it would auction off 200MHz of its spectrum – but he added: “The whitepaper will look ahead and focus on mechanisms to ensure that we have the spectrum we need to meet the challenges ahead.”

The minister’s statement comes soon after Deloitte warned there could be a global shortage of spectrum due to the increase of 4G roll-outs around the world.

The professional services firm claimed more than 200 operators in 75 countries would be offering 4G by the end of 2013 and subscriptions will exceed 200 million, equating to a 17-fold increase in just two years.

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