23/08/2010

Ofcom proposes wireless cameras to use 2.6GHz band for the London Olympics

Ofcom the super regulator is holding a consultation on utilising the 2.6GHz band for use by wireless cameras for the 2012 London Olympics. The full consultation may be seen here.

The band (actually 2500 - 2690 MHz) which offers 190MHz of prime spectrum has been the centre of various legal disputes between Ofcom and the various mobile network operators. Originally reserved for IMT-2000 use (which is the technical name for 3G) Ofcom planned to auction the band in 2007 which would have pu the UK in the lead for putting the spectrum to good use. Unfortunately due to the legal issues the spectrum auction was delayed and the band is not expected to be avilable until 2012 at the earliest. The 190MHz of specrtrum is more than all of the current 3G operators have currently and would be useful for 3G/4G data services
or wireless broadband.

Now Ofcom are proposing to reserve the whole band for use by wireless cameras for use during the London Olympic games which take place between 27th of July and 9th of September 2012.

Ofcom also completely underestimated the bandwith requirement for new services such as 3D TV which will be made available during the Olympics and as such require extra bandwith which is outside Ofcom's original spectrum allocation plans.

Though the auction of this band is expected to generate significant revenues, as well as legal challenges there are physical constraints to a national auction including military radars which are using adjacent spectrum at 2.7GHz which are being upgraded but the program will not finish by 2012.

Ofcom have tried to be a leader in spectrum auctions, with the UK going to be the first country to auction the 2.6GHz band, it now looks like the UK will be at the tail end of European countries to auction it.

Anyone wishing to respond may do so here