Ofcom consultation on draft regulations to modify licence exemption rules for range of wireless devices in UK
02 November 2010
This article was included in the November issue
of Network - the Communications
On 26 July 2010 Ofcom published a consultation on the proposed
Wireless Telegraphy (Exemption) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 to
modify licence exemption rules for a range of wireless devices in
It is an offence to establish, install or use equipment to
transmit without a licence from Ofcom under section 8(1) of the
Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006, unless such equipment is exempted.
The proposed regulations would implement a number of
1. Allow new types of equipment and frequency bands to fall
within the current licence exemption criteria, including:
- Liberalising the licence exemption for low power high density
fixed satellite stations (HDFSS) from 50 dbW to 55 dbW which would
promote the availability of broadband and multimedia services in
- Permitting the use of Railway Level Crossing Radars in the band
24.1 to 24.35 GHz. Installations will only be allowed at railway
level crossings and subject to a 20 km exclusion zone around six
Radio Astronomy sites
- Permitting a power of 40 dBuA/m for devices operating
underwater in 9 – 30000 kHz band. It is thought this would provide
benefit to divers and offshore industry in being able to use higher
power systems underwater
- Combining adjacent frequency bands for a number of short-range
devices (SRDs) to create a single band. This would help encourage
innovation and the specific conditions of each frequency band would
still need to be met.
2. Implement Commission Decision of 30 June 2010 amending
Decision 2006/771/EC on harmonisation of the radio spectrum for use
by short-range devices (the “SRD Decision”). This would include
permitting bandwidth to 100 kHz which would enable devices to
transfer more data and would help encourage the development of new
3. Enable the use of mobile phones at 900 and 1800 MHz to
connect to a UMTS network without the need for a licence. This
would be compliant with the Commission Decision 2009/766/EC of 16
October 2009 on the harmonisation of the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz
frequency bands for terrestrial systems capable of providing
pan-European electronic communications services in the Community.
The equipment is already licence exempt and the introduction of the
new frequencies would not prevent existing users from continuing to
operate in the band.
4. Introduce Ofcom policy decisions on 59-64 GHz Fixed Links
including combining the 59-64 GHz band with the existing 57-64 GHz.
Exclusion zones where the licence exemption will not apply are
detailed and reflect the Ministry of Defence radiolocation systems
in that frequency.
The consultation paper also addressed queries received by Ofcom
in relation to an earlier consultation paper, setting out the
questions posed and a summary of the responses received.
The intention behind the proposed changes is to reduce the
regulatory burden on stakeholders, by removing the need for
spectrum users to apply for individual licences to authorise the
use of radio equipment.
The analysis sets out the potential benefits and costs in
authorising a wide range of additional devices, concluding with the
recommendation of those listed above.
The deadline for responses was 6 September 2010, and subject to
the responses, Ofcom intends to bring the new regulations into
force by November 2010.
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