Digital dividend: 600 MHz band and geographic interleaved spectrum | Ofcom

Digital dividend: 600 MHz band and geographic interleaved spectrum | Ofcom

Ofcom is consulting on the 600MHz band which will become free as part of the UK's Digital Dividend as analogue TV is switched off in 2012.

This consultation aims to:

* update stakeholders on spectrum availability, how developments have changed this and how technical considerations may affect spectrum use.

* seek stakeholders' input on potential uses of the spectrum and on their level of interest in acquiring it. This information will help us develop proposals on how best to make the spectrum available.

Ofcom originally published what it was going to do in 2008, but the market has changed since then and other European countries have decided to refactor the upper end of the 800MHz band and this has knock-on effects for the lower half of the 600MHz band (some paring was to take place).

There's potentially many uses for the spectrum which include Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and mobile broadband as well as mobile multimedia services (MMS e.g. mobile television), program making and special events (PMSE), broadband wireless access (BWA) and communications for the emergency services.

Ofcom expect to publish proposals for further consultation when they are more certain about what spectrum will be available for award.

Though Ofcom has some autonomy on these matter, unfortunately radio signals do not honour national boundaries and thus they have to act in a manner that is friendly to the UK's neighbours.

The consultation closes on 28/04/2010


Seesaw tips the balance

IPTV company Seesaw has launched as a completely free service in the UK. It has programs from BBC, 4oD and Five available 24 hours a day and available to anyone without a sign-up etc.

They have 3,000+ hours of content available for viewers to watch including current series on terrestrial TV and it's streamed in Flash 10 video.

All the videos (even BBC - which comes from WorldWide) come with pre-roll adverts (i.e. before the program starts adverts are run).

For UK viewers Seesaw is a great catch-up free TV service with some good content.


BlackBerry - BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express

BlackBerry - BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express

RIM has announced an 'express' or free version of it's Blackberry Enterprise Server or BES. The feature set seems to be a slightly reduce version of the standard BES allowing up to 75 Blackberry devices to be connected.

BES Express must be installed on the same server as Exchange (versions 2003 SP2, 2007 SP1, 2010) or Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 which will limit things due to server resourcing.

BES Express is also configured through a web interface giving access to the following: -

* Manage smartphones including resetting passwords, or remotely wiping lost or stolen smartphones pick from 35 IT policies.
* Define policy settings using IT policy templates.
* Delegate tasks with 6 preconfigured IT administration roles.
* Deploy and manage applications over-the-air.
* Schedule device, application and IT policy updates.
* Update BlackBerry Software wirelessly without users having to bring the device to IT.

This will be really useful for companies who have Exchange or MS SBS who can use Activesync for free with MS Mobile devices (and even iPhones) and should bring Blackerry devices back into the realm of start-ups and small businesses (MS SBS can be obtained very cost effectively for a start-up) giving full access to push email, calendering and all the other BES features.


Nokia and Intel to go Mee (or MeeGo)

Intel who drove the Moblin initiative (as in MOBile LINux) have joined forces with Nokia's Maemo Linux OS and come up with MeeGo a combined effort taking parts of both.

The system is expected to run on multiple architectures and not just Intel processors (many mobile devices are based on ARM chips).

Moblin hasn't really gone anywhere yet, while Maemo is used on Nokia N700/800/810 tablets and the recently released N900 smartphone.

The combined effort seems more of a defensive move against Android which is making headway in the smartphone arena (and Google giving away Nexus One phones to pretty well any conference it is involved with doesn't hurt it's popularity).

MeeGo does pose interesting questions about the future of Symbian (which is still the most popular phone operating system with an installed base of about 330m phones). The Symbian Foundation recently put all of the OS into the public domain as Symbian^3 with promises for Symbian^4 later this year. There were similar worries when Nokia said Maemo would be used for high end smartphones, so it's likely that this strategy will continue, Symbian for lower end phones and MeeGo for high end ones.

Though MeeGo might be a good OS it will have a struggle with Android, though the biggest loser might well be Windows Mobile 7 which is also due to be announced at Mobile World Congress taking place in Barcelona this week.