13/06/2009

Freedom4 application for licence variation | Ofcom

Freedom4 application for licence variation | Ofcom

Freedom4 are a WiMAX operator in the UK who offer wireless broadband (they are owned by the Hong Kong giant PCCW).

Freedom4 operate in the bands 3.6 - 4.2 GHz and currently can only offer fixed services, they have applied to Ofcom to a) increase the power limits of their basestations (i.e. main transmitter hubs) and also allow mobile access (which removes the obligation to register end-user / low-power terminals).

Ofcom's view is that the in-band power level can increase from +14dBW/MHz to +23dBW/MHz (+53dBm/MHz) for central stations and to remove the absolute limit of 22dBW/MHz (EIRP).

For terminal stations coordination should not be necessary for those with a spectral density not exceeding 25dBm/MHz and total EIRP not exceeding 30dBm unless a proposed central station is within 100MHz and 2km of a point-to-point link.

These changes should be made as soon is possible.

Ofcom is holding a consultation for interested stakeholders which closes on 20|07|2009.

12/06/2009

Managing the spectrum above 275 GHz | Ofcom

Managing the spectrum above 275 GHz | Ofcom: "275-3000 GHz"

Ofcom is going to make spectrum in the 275-3000 GHz band license exempt, however not all the band is being released as there are already a few licensed users there such as user in the scientific community (radio-astronomy, space research and earth exploration satellite services). The band is also used for short range anti-collision radar devices and detection of skin cancer.

The band is highly attenuated in air (oxygen and water molecules) and usually highly directional aerials are used, so risk of interference is very low.

The band will not be released until after the 2011 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-11) where international policy is made and it would be premature for Ofcom to release the spectrum before the conference.

This band can be used for low power short range high bandwidth services (i.e. for in-building wireless connectivity).

Variation to BT’s Undertakings under the Enterprise Act 2002 related to Fibre-to-the-Cabinet | Ofcom

Variation to BT’s Undertakings under the Enterprise Act 2002 related to Fibre-to-the-Cabinet | Ofcom

BT has been granted a variation to its undertakings allowing Openreach to control and operate electronic equipment in the street cabinet.

This means that BT will install Fibre to the Street Cabinet (FTTC) and then place DSL Multiplexors in the cabinets. Since the cabinets are usually close to the premises they are serving (in urban environments at least) this will allow BT to offer VDSL2 (and variants) to end users offering 100Mb/s type download speeds.

This will still require major investment from BT and they will also have to provide equal access to other operators but if it all goes ahead will allow high speed Internet to homes providing IPTV (Internet TV), Video on demand and other services. BT Vision might stand a chance of success, though BSkyB will be watching this very carefully (and they'll also likely offer an IPTV service).

Unfortunately this again increases the digital divide as rural areas will still suffer as services such as VDSL2 only work at high speed with sub 100m connections and street cabinets in rural areas may be miles away from premises. This is one reason BT is looking towards wireless and potentially the 2.6GHz spectrum that will be up for auction later this year or next year.

Channel 5 set for licence for high definition programmes on digital terrestrial television | Ofcom

Channel 5 set for licence for high definition programmes on digital terrestrial television | Ofcom

Channel 5 has been awarded a license to broadcast in High Definition (HD) on Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) after the digital switch-over in 2010.

Channel 5 joins the BBC, the Channel 3 licensees (ITV, stv and UTV), and Channel 4 and S4C who have already been granted licenses.

Granada will be the first region to completely switch-over to DTT in 2009 and some HD content will be available at this time, other regions will switch-over by 2012.

Channel 5 will show programmes such as The Gadget Show, UEFA Europa League, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and blockbuster movie premiers which could become available in HD from late 2010.

This still means probable new Freeview boxes with MPEG-4 support.

BBC Multiplex B reorganisation

Ofcom has granted BBC Free to View Limited a license variation for the Multiplex B so that it can be reorganised to allow for the broadcast of High Definition (HD) Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT).

Current Standard Definition DTT is broadcast using MPEG-2 while HD is likely to use MPEG-4 as it requires less bandwidth than the same content broadcast on MPEG-2. Unfortunately this means new Freeview boxes will be required as none (or very few) of the existing boxes on the market have MPEG-4 decoders.

This will mean lots of current Freeview units being binned and new units will have to be purchased.