Published on February 26, 2014
Update to Forum Taking the work of the Forum to the next stage 28th January 2014 Prof. Jim Norton FREng Chair UK Spectrum Policy Forum Past President BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT External Board Member UK Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology www.profjimnorton.com
Areas to be covered • Long term challenges. • Short term challenges. • Actions proposed: Changing the political weather. Public sector spectrum management. Creating a medium/long-term vision. Exploring future spectrum access. Maximising UK international influence. Fair and equitable framework for user migration.
Long term challenges • What is the most desirable outcome to ensure adequate spectrum access for all spectrum users in the future (2025-2030) given the growing demand for spectrum? And what are the intermediate (range of) technological developments and spectrum options to be considered? • What actions need to be taken by industry, government, and Ofcom to realise these outcomes? • Given the international dependencies on the decision making in the ITU and Europe, what can be done to enhance the leadership position of the UK in these international negotiations?
Short term challenges • Help improve governance arrangements across government for strategic decisions on spectrum in general, and decisions on public sector spectrum in particular, commensurate to the importance of spectrum for the UK economy and the increasing importance of spectrum sharing between public and private sectors. • Insert into its legal vires, the promotion of innovation as a specific toplevel obligation for Ofcom. • Increase substantially the resources available for the representation of the UK in international fora and to facilitate industry • Improve international harmonisation of spectrum use, leading to economy of scale advantages. • Review current assignment or license-exemption arrangements to ensure that they optimally support innovation and competition and facilitate the most economically efficient use of the spectrum.
Changing the political weather Spectrum is an important and scarce strategic resource both for UK and its major competitors. The sector also provides high value skills and careers. In ensuring that the UK maximises these benefits and avoids ‘benefit leakage’ overseas, Government Departments, regulator and industry need to play their part in a joined up landscape from research, technology development, regulatory environment, investment climate, availability of relevant skills, and effective influence in international (spectrum and regulatory) negotiations. The Forum will: • Collate existing study data on the economic and social value of spectrum and the evolving demand for spectrum. (March 2014) • Conduct a series of meetings with Departmental ‘Special Advisers’ across Whitehall, seeking to raise perceptions of the priority of increasing budgets for international spectrum negotiation and management. (April 2014) • Identify gaps, and conduct any necessary primary research on the economic and social value of spectrum. (July 2014) • Working with the Information Economy Council, develop recommendations on steps for the creation of the joined up environment to ensure UK is home to both a world class wireless infrastructure and the development of critical wireless technologies. (September 2014
Public sector spectrum management Given the crucial and increasing importance of spectrum for UK economic and social welfare, the governance arrangements for managing Government policy on spectrum and decisions on public sector spectrum need to be much better joined up and with clear lines for roles and responsibility across Government Departments and Ofcom. The Forum should: • support DCMS as it develops new proposals for UK public sector spectrum governance. It will also work to highlight opportunities for greater sharing between public and private sector spectrum users. (March 2014)
Creating a medium/long-term vision Look “over the horizon” with a 2025-30 timeframe at markets, networks & technology: • Conduct a programme of sector by sector spectrum demand studies (via Cluster 1) to capture the current shape of spectrum usage and technology applications and how this may evolve in the next 10 – 15 years. (June 2014) • Develop a report of the spectrum usage landscape identifying a comprehensive picture of the diverse applications of spectrum. (October 2014) • Conduct a programme of workshops (via Cluster 2) to develop a better understanding of future spectrum access mechanisms and their potential impact on both usage and technology deployment. The long term trends and role of convergence between services currently delivered on separate infrastructures will also be investigated. (October 2014) • Conduct a study of issues affecting spectrum utilisation and non utilisation, assess current techniques and develop ideas for improvements for the effective utilisation of spectrum. (December 2014) • Drawing on the above work, publish a UK Spectrum Policy Forum Report and Conference on the future shape of UK spectrum demand, as both technology and access methods evolve, highlighting its potential impact on spectrum allocation policy. (March 2015)
Exploring future spectrum access The evolutionary changes described earlier will affect the shape of both future spectrum demand and the range of spectrum access mechanisms being used. (e.g. licensed / exclusive, licensed / shared, dynamic access and unlicensed access. Will current approaches (including on auctions) be optimal for future scenarios where systems may require very large bandwidths and shared networks/spectrum may deliver efficiency or cost savings? Different innovative approaches may provide alternative options in certain scenarios. Other dynamic or geographic spectrum assignment options may also be beneficial in some applications. The regulatory implications of any alternative approaches need to be considered. The Forum will: • Bring to bear the expertise of its diverse range of members to investigate future options and will conduct research and provide recommendations. (March 2015)
Maximising UK international influence At a global level, negotiations and decisions made at ITU have an increasing bearing on UK benefits. The geo political dynamics between member states and regional blocks have changed over recent years and the UK needs to update its approach in terms of its bilateral and multilateral influence in international spectrum negotiations. At a regional level CEPT remains an important forum in developing common European positions for international meetings. The Forum will: • Collate and present evidence to support the economic case for increased resources and improved international engagement. (September 2014) • Review the current position in terms of UK’s international influence (on spectrum) and develop recommendations on the re-establishment of its leading position in spectrum management, with a view to securing the influence required to take forward its economic and social interests and support UK-based product and service providers. This will build on the actions described in theme one. (November 2014)
Fair and equitable framework for user migration We will work with Government and Ofcom to ensure that those displaced by necessary spectrum re-organisation and re-allocation are supported through transition with adequate advanced warning and, where appropriate, financial support. The Forum will: • Conduct research and provide recommendations as necessary.
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