Ofcom Publishes Red-M Spectrum Report

Ofcom has published a Red-M report on the spectrum band 1785-1805 MHz, which it plans to award via an auction process next year. The spectrum band is planned for release in Northern Ireland by Ofcom and in the Republic of Ireland by Ofcom’s counterpart ComReg. ComReg and Ofcom plan co-ordinated award processes for licences during the second quarter of 2007, believed to be the very first time that a multinational spectrum award has taken place anywhere in the world.
The new band could be used for a very wide range of applications, as under its spectrum strategy Ofcom makes available spectrum on a ‘liberalised’ or technology-neutral basis. However, considerable interest is already being shown in the band by operators of broadband services in the Republic of Ireland and by providers of mobile broadband services (see, for example, www.groupe-intellex.com/ofcomreg.htm).
Following a consultation process earlier in the year, license holders in adjacent spectrum bands had raised concerns regarding potential interference between new licensees and existing services, which include cellular operators. Ofcom commissioned Red-M to conduct an independent assessment of the issues and advise on any suitable changes.
The study was led by Andrew Barnard, Red-M’s recently-appointed Managing Consultant. Andy and his team examined the issues in detail, including a study of the practical performance of existing equipment, rather than relying on a purely theoretical approach. The report showed that the concerns raised were, in part, valid. However, achieving high spectral efficiency – one of Ofcom’s prime objectives – requires that interference is managed properly rather than avoided entirely, so the Red-M team went on to propose ways in which the licensees, new and existing, could operate with a very low likelihood of interference.
Ofcom have accepted the Red-M recommendations via changes to the proposed licence conditions and have published the result and associated documentation on their website (see www.ofcom.org.uk/radiocomms/spectrumawards/awardspending/award_1785).
Red-M is proud to have supported Ofcom and ComReg in preparatory work for this historic cross-border cooperation, which promises to enable innovative services to the benefit of the economy and people of the whole of the island of Ireland.

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