Spectrometer

A helpful document on (radio wave) spectrum has been prepared by the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST), a small team that supplies advice to the Houses of Parliament and the various committees on sci&tech issues.

The note (download PDF) is remarkably clear and does present a range of perspectives (although of course it is all in most moderate and polite language). I am sceptical of the OFCOM approach to spectrum (which is based on rapid liberalisation, auctions and market forces, not to mention an unusual definition of technologically neutral proceedings which I find daft) and I think the note accepts a particular philosophy of liberalisation as an uncontested background fact (which, in the light of the Communciations Act 2003, it may well be!), but then again … I would say that.

An ongoing process that is very, very interesting, and summarised well in the note, is the ‘Digital Dividend Review‘, or what to do with a chunk of ‘UHF’ space that will be vacated through the move from analogue to digital terrestrial television. It is the UK counterpart to the high-profile 700MHz proceedings in the US (where the conditions for an auction of a part of the UHF space are being debated) and the ‘white space’ questions (former buffer zones between channels and what do to with them, not to mention what to do with the various people using the buffers for low-power things).

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