Ofcom preps fourth radio spectrum auction

Ofcom preps fourth radio spectrum auction

High-capacity wireless broadband just one of the possible uses

Ofcom has announced details of its fourth UK auction of radio spectrum licences, which could see companies bidding to provide high-speed wireless internet access.

The high-frequency spectrum is suitable for a number of different uses, including high-capacity broadband for organisations seeking to share wireless internet connections across buildings in close proximity.

"Ofcom will release the spectrum on a technology and service neutral basis, allowing users the flexibility to decide what technology to use, what services to offer and to change their use of the spectrum over time," the regulator said.

All licences granted in the auction will be tradable. The spectrum bands are between 10GHz and 40GHz and can carry large amounts of data over distances of up to 12 kilometres.

The provisional date for applications is 16 January 2008, although Ofcom said it would officially confirm that date before Christmas.

"The online auction is part of a programme of making the most efficient use of the UK's valuable spectrum resource by releasing unused spectrum," an official Ofcom statement said.

"This will benefit consumers by providing access to new services, greater choice and competition. It will also benefit the economy."

Ofcom said its research showed that the use of the radio spectrum contributes at least £37bn or three per cent to UK gross domestic product.

The sale follows three consultations dating back to January 2005.