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Ofcom consults on London 2012 spectrum

The regulator aims to identify the applications that will need spectrum and whether it can be used more efficiently during the Olympics
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor on

Ofcom has published a consultation document on the spectrum requirements for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The consultation is seeking to identify what applications might need spectrum and whether they could more efficiently use what the regulator describes as "a valuable, finite resource". Spectrum used by one party cannot be used by another because of interference.

Ofcom said it expects spectrum for the 2012 Games to be primarily required for PMRs (private mobile radios) and by broadcasters but added that support services, such as emergency and public-safety services, may also have requirements.

The 2012 Games will be one of the most viewed sporting events of all time and Ofcom predicts 20,000 accredited media representatives will come to the UK to cover the event, beaming live pictures and commentary around the world.

Ofcom's chief executive, Ed Richards, said in a statement: "We can't see it, hear it or touch it, but radio spectrum is absolutely essential to delivering the most technologically advanced Olympic Games ever. With the eyes of the world on London during the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, Ofcom will play a crucial role in ensuring that spectrum is available for the smooth operation of these events."

Spectrum allocation for the London Olympics was guaranteed as part of the government's 2004 bid to host the Games. However, Ofcom warned in the consultation document that meeting the Games' spectrum requirements will be "a complex task", as spectrum is already heavily used in the capital.

Ofcom's consultation closes on 22 February next year and it will then work towards drawing up a draft spectrum plan for the London Olympics. That plan will address the supply of spectrum, it added.

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