Wednesday, December 20, 2006

UK: "Digital Dividend" consultants oppose license-free use

UK: "Digital Dividend" consultants oppose license-free use; Ofcom invites other views

Yesterday, UK telecom regulator Ofcom issued a Consultation paper on future uses of the "Digital Dividend" - the frequencies to be released when TV broadcasters migrate from analog to digital transmission.

At the same time, they released a related set of "preparatory reports" by several teams of consultants.

There is a significant difference of opinion between Ofcom and the consultants on the question of whether to reserve "Digital Dividend" frequencies for license exempt applications.

This difference leads Ofcom to encourage the public to use the just-launched consultation to provide better arguments and new proposals for worthwhile license exempt applications in the UHF band.


Yet Ofcom is willing to give license exempt use the benefit of the doubt - at least at this stage of the Review:

"...we propose to make available channel 69 for wireless microphones and similar low power devices such as in-ear monitors; we also propose to deregulate access to most or all of this spectrum, by making access free, on demand, to users, without the need for a licence;

"...we are keen to investigate other potential innovative uses of the spectrum, but so far we have received few specific proposals. We are seeking to gather more evidence through this consultation, so we can make a more informed judgement next year on whether additional spectrum should be set aside for possible low power uses. We are also undertaking a wider review of how to facilitate more licence-exempt use of spectrum...

"[We] are also inviting views on the case for holding back a small amount of spectrum - cleared or interleaved - as an 'innovation reserve'. This would be against the possibility of major technological developments - such as new low power uses - that could find it difficult to access the rest of the spectrum..."

Thus, the 8th question posed in the consultation document deals with these issues:

"Do you consider that additional spectrum from the digital dividend should be reserved for low power applications? If so, please provide as much evidence as possible about the nature of the application and its potential value to society."

The public consultation period began 19 December and runs to 20 March 2007. Details about how to submit comments can be found on the Digital Dividend Review home page.

Friday, December 01, 2006

BT plans to build Wi-Fi networks in cities

[December 1, 2006] BT plans multi-city Wi-Fi in U.K

Hotspot Hits
By Wi-Fi Planet Staff

December 1, 2006

BT plans to build Wi-Fi networks in cities across the United Kingdom. And to get started, it has picked at least one major partner. Motorola will “design, deploy and manage city-wide Wi-Fi networks” — specifically, mesh networks — built under the BT Openzone brand. The companies will begin with six out of 12 planned cities, including Birmingham and Newcastle. The six other cities, including Westminster, will expand use of Cisco equipment already has in place, but BT has yet to reveals who it will work with. Of course, not everyone is happy about BT’s plans. For once it’s not people who think Wi-Fi makes them sick, the other growing wireless trend in the U.K. This time, it’s just good old-fashioned vendor rivalry. System integrator React Technologies told TechWorld it’s upset that these very public-oriented projects were not put out to the market for bids. React works with mesh equipment from Strix Systems. BT says it didn’t want to delay things, but may do a formal public tender for services in the future. Other providers, such as CitySpace (which will unwire 3 square kilometers of Bristol and expand the “Technology Mile” section of Islington), attack the BT deployments for not being free. The Cloud accuses BT of lacking openness by limiting the applications users can run on the networks. Overall, the BT expansion will help them further push a fixed/mobile convergence (F/MC) service called Fusion.