Ofcom offers new spectrum for Transportable Earth Stations

Ofcom has opened up new spectrum in the C and Ka bands for use by Transportable Earth Stations (TES) i.e. portable satellite communications devices.

The spectrum has been made available immediately and users can apply for licenses on-line.

These licenses come with fees which Ofcom have also published.

This will allow satellite comms equipment to offer greater connection speeds by making use of the increased spectrum.

Ofcom opens Whitespace spectrum

Ofcom the super regulator that deals with regulation of broadcast media, radio and telecoms has made a statement about opening-up 'white space spectrum' and allow for devices to be deployed in a license exempt manner (in the UK there is no such thing as unlicensed spectrum and all transmission or reception equipment is covered by either a specific license or a 'blanket' license published by Ofcom and as long as the user/equipment abides by the conditions of the blanket license they don't need a specific license - bands like 2.4GHz which covers WiFi and Bluetooth devices are license exempt).

The equipment will have to connect to a central database (that Ofcom may actually subcontract to 3rd parties) which will note their geolocation and provide information about which frequencies are in use in that area. Ofcom may mandate a 'switch-off' mode such that if interference is detected in the area, white space devices may be forced to stop transmission.

This will be particularly suitable for rural areas as the 'white space' spectrum can be used to support wireless broadband and other services. This is significant as Ofcom are proposing that the TV bands can be used (as digital multiplexs use interleaved frequencies such that neighbouring transmitter sites don't interfere with each other) and TV bands have good propagation characteristics. Ofcom is also considering the UHF bands, though these may be more problematic longer term.

Ofcom also is considering use for WiFi like services (for localised high speed connectivity) and machine-to-machine communications which could cover things like meter reading.

Though Ofcom will have to consider European harmonisation so it make a while to implement (Ofcom is hoping for systems to be in operation by 2013), this is a bold step by Ofcom in making use of 'wasted' spectrum and being very proactive.

Ofcom will have to introduce an SI (Statutory Instrument) which is passed by Parliament to amend the WTA (Wireless Telegraphy Act) to make the spectrum license exempt.


Ofcom issues a notification to HomeServe

Ofcom the super regulator has issued a notice under section 128 of the Communication Act 2003 to HomeServe (HomeServe Plc) for persistant breaches pertaining to automated dialling equipment making silent calls and redialing within 24 hours when the call was answered by an answered by an answering machine.

Ofcom has the power to fine companies under Section 130 of the Act if they fail to remedy their actions once notified.

Previous companies to receive notifications and or fines for silent calling have been: -

    RWE npower PLC ("npower") Ultimate Credit Services Ltd (“UCS”) Equidebt Ltd (“Equidebt”) Barclays Bank plc (“Barclaycard”) Abbey National plc (“Abbey”) Complete Credit Management Limited (“CCM”)