23/11/2012

Ofcom updates GC17

Ofcom the super regulator has published a statement on General Condition 17 (GC17) which relates to the UK numbering plan and telephone number allocations.

The statement just cleans-up the old GC17 as this was published over 10 years ago prior to Ofcom coming into being and though still relevant things have changed since Ofcom took over the role previously maintained by Oftel.

The statement provides the following modifications to the Numbering Plan and GC17: create a single reference point for CPs and other stakeholders in relation to number ranges and related restrictions;

  • simplify the provisions relating to compliance with the Numbering Plan and other restrictions on the adoption or use of numbers
  • improve the clarity of the Numbering Plan, and remove unnecessary duplication; ensure consistent reflection of current numbering policy across GC17 and the Numbering Plan
  • make other minor drafting amendments such as deleting obsolete or redundant text, removing duplication and correcting textual and typographical errors.

This will also affect number allocation forms to correspond to the changes.

Ofcom consults on whitespace use

Ofcom the Super regulator has published a consultation on the use of whitespace frequencies.

Whitespace is radio spectrum (generally in the Digital Terrestrial Television [DTT] and Program Making and Special Events [PMSE] bands) in the UHF TV bands (470MHz to 790MHz) that isn't used in a particular area. This is because adjacent TV transmitters cant use the same radio frequencies, so there are geographic areas where certain spectrum is available, but those frequencies will be used elsewhere in the UK.

As certain frequencies are available in certain areas, these could be used (in lower power) by other devices such that they wont interfere with their use in neighbouring areas. In order for that to work, the devices (or central transmitter) will have to know where it is and how much power it can transmit and on what frequencies such that interference wont occur.

There are various uses for whitespace spectrum such as rural broadband or hotspot connectivity. Here the central transmitter would have to query the central database and CPE equipment would get transmit power and frequency use from the central transmitter.

Whitespace could also be used for in-home or M2M applications and in this case the central router (which would be connected to the Internet) would make the database queries and the rest of the in-home/M2M equipment would get the power/frequency information from the central router.

Ofcom is proposing making whitespace devices license except, though they will have to contact a central database and pass back their location and thus be given allowable frequencies and their power constraints.

As part of the consultation Ofcom has specified the types of queries and responses, but not how they're implemented as this would be down to the market to implement.

The full statement (PDF) is available on-line and the stakeholders can also respond on-line. The consultation closes on the 10 January 2013.