Future of wireless broadband technologies
One of Ofcom’s key priorities is ensuring internet we can rely on by making high quality networks available, wherever needed. Ofcom is committed in continuing its support for network evolution and convergence to promote competition and innovation and enable wireless services in the wider economy. Although much of the country is expected to have coverage from gigabit capable broadband services, there will be parts of the UK which will be very hard to reach with fixed access technologies.
Another key development in the evolution of fixed wireless broadband services in the UK is the government’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy published earlier this year. Later in the year it plans to set out plans to encourage the provision of fixed wireless access to other hard to reach areas.
This report is part of our work to explore the latest developments in wireless broadband technologies, so that we can better understand the sector and identify the opportunities and challenges in delivering wireless broadband services to consumers and businesses.
The UK’s communications sector is characterised by technology-driven change, providing new and innovative services to consumers. Recent developments in wireless broadband services can be used to extend the reach of broadband to areas where it may be difficult to roll out a fixed broadband service or provide an alternative to fixed broadband services in more densely populated areas. We are aware of technology advancements that could improve the performance of wireless broadband services such as those deployed by the mobile operators, localised more dedicated solutions utilising shared spectrum bands and satellite solutions.
As fixed wireless services continue to evolve, it is important for Ofcom to understand the technology roadmaps that are expected to be an integral part of existing and future wireless networks.
We commissioned this report, with PA Consulting, to understand the expected technology developments over the next 5-10 years and to help us identify the types of broadband service performance that can be delivered on these wireless broadband networks to improve existing network deployments and consequent service availability to consumers. This report reflects the author’s views as of March 2023.
Ofcom's technical programmes enables us to keep up to date with technologies and trends, so that we can be in the best possible position to exercise our regulatory functions. In many cases, we do not conduct investigations in-house, but make use of external resources, such as private commercial organisations, university departments and Government-funded research institutions. These reports present the findings of their technical work. The opinions and conclusions stated within these reports are those of the organisations which conducted the work and may not reflect the view of Ofcom or imply any future policy work in related areas. Ofcom is not responsible for the content or accuracy of these reports.