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Industry Research


New spectrum technologies findings

New spectrum technologies findings

Ofcom has published its second annual Technology Research and Development Report which provides an overview of emerging technologies that have the potential to make more efficient use of the radio spectrum.

Spectrum is a finite natural resource that underpins the operation of all forms of broadcasting, fixed and wireless telecommunications as well as essential services such as defence, transport, the emergency services and healthcare. New and innovative technologies that make more efficient use of this valuable resource benefit both consumers - with the introduction of new services - and the economy.

Ofcom’s Technology Research and Development programme is funded though the Spectrum Efficiency Scheme via the Treasury. Ofcom estimates that emerging technologies explored as a result of the research programme could generate up to £6.5bn in revenues for the UK economy over the next 20 years.

Dynamic Spectrum Access

One new technology that is highlighted in today’s report is Dynamic Spectrum Access, or DSA.

DSA would allow intelligent communication devices, such as mobile phones, laptops or PDAs, to roam onto any available wireless network at any point in time, rather than restricting service provision to just one network provider.

With a variety of different networks and providers to choose from, a communications device could intelligently select the cheapest service for the customer. DSA could also automatically select the network with the appropriate service quality and bandwidth to match the service the customer wants to use, whether it is a voice call, SMS messaging, browsing the internet or video calling.

DSA technology would make efficient use of the spectrum by linking the supply of spectrum with demand though an open and competitive marketplace for real time access to spectrum.

DSA is underpinned by a technology that would allow network operators to transmit pricing and service quality information to communication devices such as mobile phones. Ofcom is leading the research into DSA and will conduct further work on the technology and economic issues in the coming year. Based on the initial research, Ofcom believes that the technology could be ready to deploy in five to ten years’ time.

Peter Ingram, Ofcom’s Chief technology Officer, said: “Ofcom has a critical role to play, backed by Treasury funding, to research and encourage innovation in the next generation of wireless technology. New technologies that make efficient use of the spectrum benefit both consumers and the UK economy as a whole.”

For a full copy of the Technology Research and Development Report, go to:

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