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Ofcom to borrow additional spectrum for Olympics

UK media and telecoms regulator Ofcom plans to commandeer additional spectrum to cope with an expected spike in demand during the London Olympic Games this summer.

Ofcom expects demand for wireless spectrum to double during the games, fuelled by the increasing use of wireless technology by broadcasters, walkie-talkie systems, talkback systems and timing and scoring systems.

The regulator has built a dedicated spectrum assignment system to ensure that spectrum is used efficiently, with minimum interference. Ofcom will also deploy additional radio engineers, including engineers from other European countries, to identify and deal with interference problems.

Ofcom’s plans to ensure that communications continue to function during the games include the unused parts of the broadcast spectrum – including frequencies formerly used for analogue broadcasting –under its control, as well as spectrum allocated for sale by auction for next-generation mobile services and unlicensed spectrum used for WiFi.

The regulator also plans to borrow spectrum temporarily from government agencies including the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office, the Civil Aviation Authority and other bodies.

Ofcom’s chief operating officer, Jill Ainscough, said: “The UK’s airwaves are already among the most intensively used in the world. The London 2012 Games will significantly increase demand. Ready and prepared for this challenge, Ofcom recognises that there is no room for complacency. We are working behind the scenes to make this capacity available, to ensure that this demand is met.”

Tags: Ofcom