UK Spectrum Policy Forum - Prof Jim Norton: Taking the work of the Forum to the next stage
Update to Forum
Taking the work of the Forum to the next stage
28th January 2014
Prof. Jim Norton FREng
Chair UK Spectrum Policy
Past President BCS, The
Chartered Institute for IT
External Board Member UK
Parliamentary Office of
Science & Technology
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
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
• Bring to bear the expertise of its diverse range of members to investigate
future options and will conduct research and provide recommendations.
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.
• 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.