London to “borrow” spectrum to cope with demands of 2012 Olympic games

25 January 2012 |


The UK regulator Ofcom has announced its plan to meet additional demand for wireless spectrum during the London 2012 Games.

The main thrust of Ofcom’s plan rests upon “careful management” and increased efficiency, as it identifies a range of areas where spectrum can be harnessed for short-term usage during July and August 2012.

It is estimated that Ofcom will need to assign 20,000 wireless frequencies for the event, which is double the number it normally assigns in a year. It claims the Games will be the biggest media event in history.

The regulator plans to borrow spectrum from public sector bodies, such as the Ministry of Defence, and to use available frequencies which are not being used at present, such as spectrum which will shortly be auctioned off but has not yet been released.

Ofcom also plans to use the spectrum which will be made available due to the digital switchover, as well as unlicensed spectrum.

The plan has been in development since 2006.

Ofcom has admitted that there is no room for complacency. “The UK’s airwaves are already among the most intensively used in the world,” said Jill Ainscough, COO of Ofcom. “The London 2012 Games will significantly increase demand.”

A custom-built system will be developed to minimise interference, along with a network of sensors to identify potential interference problems before they arise.

Ofcom has been running a series of test events during 2011 and 2012, which include the royal wedding at Westminster Abbey and the Formula 1 Grand Prix.