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Technology / Hardware

Ofcom regulates VHF spectrum in push for national IoT investment and innovation

Telco regulator Ofcom has allocated specific IoT very high frequency (VHF) spectrums in a bid to encourage UK investment and innovation in the IoT.

The company has confirmed that spectrum within the 55-68 MHz, 70.5-71.5 MHz and 80.0-81.5 MHz bands can be used for IoT services and M2M applications.

According to the regulator, the mentioned VHF frequencies bands will help to deliver IoT services to remote and rural areas of the country "without affecting existing spectrum users".

Ofcom also said that it will continue to support current smart applications, however, it will launch a license product later in the year that makes specific provision for IoT/M2M.

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The product will replace its current business radio (BR) products and support M2M/IoT and all current BR applications, according to a company statement.

"Stakeholders with existing licences may continue to operate as they currently do, and the range of applications currently authorised under the current arrangements will continue to be so," it reads on the VHF radio spectrum for the IoT report.

The spectrum allocation came after a stakeholder consultation in September 2015.

By addressing spectrum needs, Ofcom said it aims to boost investment and innovation in the UK’s IoT space by providing access to spectrum, so that products and services can be connected together wirelessly.

Ofcom said: "VHF spectrum is not harmonised in Europe for M2M applications. However, we think
access to VHF frequencies could help to stimulate the right environment for innovation.

"We do not consider spectrum availability to be a barrier to the development of the IoT in the short to medium term.

"When all the VHF bands available to BR licensees are considered, it is Ofcom’s view that encouraging new IoT uses in the bands 55.75625-60 MHz, 62.75625-64.8 MHz and 64.8875-66.2 MHz, 70.5-71.5 MHz and 80.0-81.5 MHz should still leave sufficient spectrum to meet demands for BR in the VHF range."

The regulator said it will continue to monitor the demand for VHF M2M, voice and data applications and take part in the international debate around the demand for an IoT spectrum to identify when and what additional spectrum may be needed for future developments.
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