Around 6 MHz of spectrum between 143 MHz and 156 MHz is becoming available for civil use across England, Wales and Northern Ireland following its release by the Emergency Services in England and Wales, and by the Police Service in Northern Ireland. Equivalent spectrum in Scotland may become available at a later date.
This Call for Input seeks stakeholder views on the types of services this spectrum could be used for (new and/or existing services),on the level of prospective interest, and on the technical (and other) conditions which would be required to enable these services.
This spectrum falls in a VHF frequency band which is used mainly by Private Mobile Radio (PMR, sometimes also referred to as Business Radio) where it is used in the relatively narrow channel widths that apply under our current set of PMR licence products. We expect this newly available spectrum to be of significant interest to this group of users.
However, given the amounts of spectrum on offer, some of it in significant blocks of contiguous bandwidth (up to 1 MHz), it may be that this sector might wish to access the spectrum in a way that enables new types of services and applications that aren't possible under the current licence products. In addition, there may well be other types of user, outside of the current Private Mobile Radio sector, that are also interested in accessing this spectrum. We will consider all potential uses and users that can be accommodated in this spectrum.
The availability of VHF spectrum in this quantity, and at one point in time, is a rare and possibly unique opportunity. This Call for Input offers the Private Mobile Radio sector and other industry sectors an opportunity to consider and make known their views on the potential uses and markets this spectrum can address and on the ways in which the spectrum would need to be packaged to enable these services. It also allows us to gauge the level of interest in using spectrum in this frequency range. These are all important factors in deciding how best to release the spectrum.
We invite responses from stakeholders who have general views on potential future uses and on how we should release the spectrum, as well as from stakeholders who have a specific purpose in mind for which they themselves would like to access this spectrum.