Ofcom is today consulting on plans to encourage investment and innovation in the Internet of Things by using 10 MHz of existing spectrum for new applications.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to enable large numbers of previously unconnected devices to communicate and share data with one another via ‘Machine-to-Machine’ communications (M2M).
Ofcom’s aim is to encourage M2M applications to use spectrum that will enable them to connect wirelessly over longer distances. This VHF spectrum has different properties to other frequencies, already in use for the IoT, and can reach distant locations which other frequencies may not.
Ofcom believes access to spectrum in this range could open new opportunities and bring benefits to citizens and consumers, especially those in remote and rural parts of the UK. The frequencies being made available span the 55-68 MHz, 70.5-71.5 MHz and 80.0-81.5 MHz bands.
Ofcom is also seeking views on whether any changes to the existing licence products are necessary in order to promote innovative uses in these bands, especially for serving rural and remote locations.
There are already more than 40 million devices connected via the IoT in the UK alone. This is forecast to grow more than eight-fold by 2022, with hundreds of millions of devices carrying out more than a billion daily data transactions.
Today’s consultation closes on 12 November 2015.
This document confirms that spectrum within the 55-68 MHz, 70.5-71.5 MHz and 80.0-81.5 MHz bands can be used for Internet of Things (IoT) services and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications.
We have confirmed spectrum in the VHF range is suitable for some IoT services and M2M applications and our current licensing arrangements can and do provide access for this purpose.
We recognise that this might not be clear to stakeholders so we will launch a new product that makes specific provision for IoT/M2M, but continues to support current applications.
We will also make a web resource available that will provide information and help for those seeking to use spectrum for IoT.
In the meantime anyone can apply for our existing Business Radio Licence products.