Ofcom Completes TV Spectrum Clearing

UK Telecom regulator Ofcom announced that as of July 31, “Path clear for 4G, as airwave clearance is complete”. The 4G spectrum cleared is at 800 MHz and was previously used for broadcasting digital TV. Clearing the spectrum required work at more than 600 transmitters across the United Kingdom. In addition, wireless microphone systems using this spectrum had to change operating frequencies or be replaced.

The project was completed five months ahead of schedule, with Ofcom securing an accelerated timetable for releasing the 800 MHz TV spectrum following discussions with TV broadcasters, Digital UK and the Arqiva, the U.K. TV transmission company.

“This week we are clearing the path for 4G mobile broadband, allowing mobile companies to provide coverage across the U.K.,” said Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive. “4G services will reach 98 percent of the U.K. population indoors--and even more when outdoors--which will provide a significant boost for rural businesses and consumers.”

I have more information about Ofcom's plans for TV spectrum use in my Nov. 2012 article Ofcom Shifting TV Spectrum to Wireless Broadband.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.