Ofcom said it is allocating 10 MHz of VHF spectrum to encourage UK investment in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things (IoT) by enabling large numbers of previously unconnected devices to communicate and share data with one another.
The UK regulator said the frequencies being made available span the 55-68 MHz, 70.5-71.5 MHz and 80.5-81.5 MHz bands, and noted that these frequencies would enable certain IoT devices to connect wirelessly over long distances.
Ofcom added that there are already more than 40 million devices connected via the IoT in the UK alone. This is forecast to grow more than eight-fold by 2022, with hundreds of millions of devices carrying out more than a billion daily data transactions.
As part of further measures to drive IoT investment and innovation, Ofcom also said it plans to update its existing Business Radio (BR) licence products in order to remove any misconceptions that they were designed for voice-only communications and so were unsuitable for M2M/IoT applications.
"There was no evidence to suggest our existing BR licence products were unsuitable for M2M/IoT purposes. However, we recognise that this may not be clear to stakeholders," the regulator said.
To address this issue Ofcom said it will launch a new licence product later this year to replace the existing BR products and make specific provision for M2M and IoT applications.
"In concert with this measure we will also launch a dedicated information and application web page for those seeking spectrum access for the IoT. We believe these measures will clarify the wide range of spectrum which is currently available to facilitate IoT," the regulator added.
While noting that the VHF spectrum is not harmonised in Europe for M2M applications and is not suitable for the delivery of broadband services to rural and remote locations, Ofcom said it believes that access to this spectrum will help to stimulate the right environment for innovation in IoT.
- see this Ofcom statement
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