Consultation: Supporting the UK’s wireless future – Our spectrum management strategy for the 2020s

  • Start: 04 December 2020
  • Status: Open
  • End: 26 February 2021

This document proposes how we will manage use of the radio spectrum - the invisible waves used for all wireless communications - in the interests of everyone in the UK over the next decade.

To deliver our vision for the future use of spectrum, we are proposing action in three main areas. These build on our existing approach of relying on market mechanisms where possible and using regulatory levers where necessary:

Supporting wireless innovation: We are proposing to make it even easier to access spectrum by:

  • Expanding our work to understand, assist and inform the wide range of organisations who may benefit from wireless technologies in the future;
  • Making more spectrum available for innovation before its long-term future use is certain;
  • Working to support innovation in new wireless technologies, including by influencing international standards and decisions so they are flexible enough to support new uses.

Licensing to fit local and national services: We are proposing to support the growing diversity of wireless services and providers by considering further options for localised spectrum access when authorising new access to spectrum. Local access can suit a range of businesses and specialised services at sites like factories, airports and remote farms, which do not need to use spectrum across the whole UK. Larger, including national, licences can support wide coverage for public mobile services.

Promoting spectrum sharing: Spectrum is a limited resource, so as innovation stimulates greater demand for spectrum, it’s even more important for users to share access with others. Technology can help by providing new sharing tools and by creating the opportunity for a fresh approach to sharing in higher frequencies. Building on existing work, we’re proposing to encourage:

  • Use of better data and more sophisticated analysis when assessing the conditions for sharing;
  • Wireless systems to be more resilient to interference from their neighbours;
  • An efficient balance between the level of interference protection given to one service and flexibility for others to transmit.

We would continue to take a leading role in promoting such reforms internationally.

We will be holding a virtual stakeholder event on our proposals on 22 January 2021. You can find out more and register your interest via our Eventbrite page.

Responding to this consultation

Please submit responses using the consultation response form (ODT, 52.9 KB).


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