The review seeks to regulate fixed wireless spectrum used amidst of a changing market dynamic
UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has this week launched a full review of the UK’s current usage and demand for fixed wireless links, data which it hopes will allow it to better allocate spectrum.
Ofcom’s Call for Input asks for stakeholders’ thoughts on their current and future use of these links, so that the UK’s spectrum can be effectively managed.
Fixed wireless links have a wide range of uses in the UK, from providing broadband to homes and businesses via fixed wireless access to carrying mobile backhaul data in scenarios where fibre infrastructure is unavailable. However, as the UK’s fibre coverage increases, as well as the rapid growth of satellite broadband networks, the necessity for fixed wireless backhaul links is steadily decreasing. As a result, Ofcom wants to know whether some of the spectrum used for these links – particularly high-band spectrum – can be repurposed for other uses, such as mobile networks.
this process of repurposing fixed link spectrum has been ongoing for years. The total spectrum available for new fixed link assignments in the UK today stands at 22.1GHz, down around 5GHz since 2016. This decease in available spectrum is somewhat mirrored by the reduction in total fixed links themselves, which are down from around 45,000 to 32,000, largely due to the increased availability of fibre
“A large proportion of fixed links are currently used to deliver backhaul services for mobile networks. As a greater proportion of these backhaul services move to being delivered over fibre, we expect that the role fixed links will play in the future is more likely to be focused at the edges of the networks, rather than at the core,” said Ofcom in its call for inputs.
The review period will run until the 17th of January next year, allowing time for all stakeholders to contribute their insights.
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