Statement: Restricted services – proposals to increase available spectrum and simplify our approach to licensing

Published: 14 March 2022
Consultation closes: 9 May 2022
Status: Closed (statement published)

Statement published 19 July 2022

Restricted services have small coverage areas and are often used to broadcast at events, or within a particular establishment. They include hospital radio, drive-in movie soundtracks and commentary for outdoor events such as air shows. They also include radio services for religious observances such as Ramadan.

Restricted services mainly broadcast in the AM and FM broadcasting bands, but we don’t always have sufficient frequencies available to meet demand. And interest in these services has only been increasing during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially for drive-in events.

To better meet the demand, we have developed an innovative new method of spectrum planning that enables us to identify small gaps in spectrum use – between existing broadcast radio services in the FM band. We refer to these gaps as ‘limited coverage spectrum’. Because of the limited coverage that can be achieved using this spectrum, it is not suitable for national, local and community radio broadcasts, but is particularly suited for restricted service broadcasts.

We will be making more efficient use of limited coverage spectrum to increase the overall spectrum resource available for restricted services. This will provide opportunities for more of these types of services to be licensed.

We are also simplifying our licensing approach for restricted services and making the application process more straightforward.

Contact information

RSL Review
Broadcast Licensing Team
Riverside House
2A Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 9HA
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