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New spectrum licence set to spur UK innovation

UK organisations can now secure simple, flexible access to over 18 GHz of high frequency spectrum for new wireless technology, thanks to changes made today by Ofcom.

They have today confirmed they will open up access to 18.2 GHz of spectrum in the 100-200 GHz frequency range – known as Extremely High Frequency (EHF) spectrum.

These bands are presently used by Earth Exploration-Satellite Services (“EESS”) to collect important weather and climate data. They are opening up the bands with technical conditions which will protect these satellite services while enabling new terrestrial users to develop and use innovative technologies.

Making more spectrum above 100 GHz available will create new opportunities to develop wireless services across a range of industries in the future. These frequencies are well-suited for high-speed wireless services over short distances that need large data capacity to work, as well as sensing and positioning applications.

Potential new services that could make use of this spectrum include:

• Health screening applications – helping to detect conditions such as skin cancer earlier;
• Very high speed, high capacity data links over short distances – supporting use of 3D imaging, holograms and future Internet of Things (IoT) applications;
• High precision product assembly and quality assurance – for example to check for defects in manufactured pharmaceuticals.

People and organisations can apply from today on the Ofcom website for a new licence granting access to one of the 116-122 GHz, 174.8-182 GHz and 185-190 GHz bands.

Ofcom has also set out its intention to open up further bands above 100 GHz in future, to support new services.

This is part of ofcom's ongoing work to support wireless innovation, by making sure people and organisations can easily access the spectrum they need.

Published by: Ofcom

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