Ofcom considers allowing UK Broadband to offer mobile WiMAX across the UK

19 Jun 2007

Ofcom yesterday published proposals to amend the Wireless Telegraphy Act licence held by UK Broadband. If granted, it will allow the company to offer mobile WiMAX services across the UK. UK Broadband’s current licence permits the company to operate broadband fixed wireless access in the 3.5GHz band. The company has asked Ofcom to vary its licence to make it technology and service neutral, giving it greater flexibility over how it can use the radio spectrum. It has also sought an increase in its permitted power levels. In the consultation document published today, Ofcom believes that removing such usage restraints would benefit consumers, encourage competition and optimise use of the spectrum. Ofcom also believes that the likelihood of interference to other users is low. The regulator has recommended that the variation be made as soon as practicable, subject to the outcome of the consultation. The consultation closes on 27 August 2007.

In July 2003, the Radiocommunications Agency awarded 15 regional 3.5GHz licences. UK Broadband acquired 13 of these licences and subsequently purchased the two companies that had acquired the other licences. In December 2006 UK Broadband asked Ofcom to vary its licences so that all 15 regions were covered by a single licence. Ofcom agreed to this in March 2007. In the same month UK Broadband submitted a further request to Ofcom to vary its licence on which Ofcom is today consulting.