14/12/2006

Digit Online

Digit Online

It's been a long time coming, but the RSC (Radio Spectrum Committee) which is made up of 22 EU member states has approved UWB in Europe. There are changes from the US approved version which was approved in 2002 (though no equipment is yet on the market).

Though the RSC has approved UWB it still has to go through EU formal legislation - which is expected in Feb 2007, member states then have 6 months to locally approve it.

It is still unclear on the restrictions that will be imposed on use, however it should allow short range equipment to operate at speeds of up to 480Mb/s suiting IPTV and other high bandwidth applications. It can be thought of as a short range wires replacement service.

Ofcom Website | 1785-1805 MHz in Ireland and Northern Ireland

Ofcom Website | 1785-1805 MHz in Ireland and Northern Ireland

This is a 20MHz unpaired band. Ofcom are publishing regulations for the band in conjunction with ComReg in Ireland.

Licensees will have to co-ordinate with GSM 1800 users who neighbour this band.

This only covers Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Switching broadband provider | Ofcom

Switching broadband provider | Ofcom

From Feb 14th 2007 broadband providers will have to supply consumers with a MAC upon request and free of charge. The MAC is the Migration Authorisation Code and allows a consumer to change broadband providers with minimal loss of service.

The new rules will mean that all wholesale providers must provide MAC codes to their customers – the retail broadband providers - upon request, regardless of any dispute.

This have been problematic to date and Ofcom found that though 83% of users found it relatively easy to change providers, 17% didn't.

There has been some resistance to this, but now wholesale broadband providers will not be able to refuse supplying the MAC.

Terms of Reference | Ofcom

Terms of Reference | Ofcom

Ofcom is conducting a review of premium rate services and whether the legislative regime should be changed, there should be more resources made available to concentrate on where consumer harm is greatest, revisions to the ICSTIS code and PRS conditions.

Ofcom will also hold a consultation next spring (2007) and then make recommendations/changes after.

Though Ofcom can tighten the regime, there are innovotive uses for PRS such as micro-payment solutions and their aim is to ensure consumers are protected while encouraging innovation.

11/12/2006

Digit news - EU approves sale of AOL UK

Digit news - EU approves sale of AOL UK

The EC (European Commission) has approved the sale of AOL UK to Carphone Warehouse (CPW), so the CPW should be able to leverage AOL's LLU service and provisioning systems.

CPW have been getting a lot of consumer flack for leaving lines without broadband or telephone service for weeks. If they can integrate AOLs systems they should be able to improve their customer service considerably.

They also gain IPTV and other content services from AOL.

Award of available spectrum: 2500-2690 MHz, 2010-2025 MHz and 2290-2300 MHz | Ofcom

Award of available spectrum: 2500-2690 MHz, 2010-2025 MHz and 2290-2300 MHz | Ofcom

Ofcom is holding a consultation on various frequency bands. The consultation closes in March 2007.

These are "prime" bands as there's a lot of spectrum available and they sit in the WiMAX frequency range and would suite 802.16e (i.e. Mobile WiMAX). BT have already expressed interest.

Unfortunately these bands are designated for 3G use and the 3G operators are likely to wish to utilise the spectrum since they paid £21bn for their original allocations.

Ofcom would like to offer them on a technology neutral basis, but there are EU harmonisation issues (they are harmonised bands allocated for 3G use).

If they can be moved away from purely 3G use, competition will be fierce.