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Licence-Exempt ion Framework Review A consultation on the framework for managing spectrum used by Licence-exempt devices. May 2007. Previous work on licence-exemption The current situation with licence-exemption Key aims and objectives from licence-exempt spectrum The key proposals

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May 2007

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May 2007

Licence-ExemptionFramework ReviewA consultation on the framework for managing spectrum used by Licence-exempt devices

May 2007


Contents

  • Previous work on licence-exemption

  • The current situation with licence-exemption

  • Key aims and objectives from licence-exempt spectrum

  • The key proposals

  • Our vision for licence exempt spectrum

Contents


In the sfr we said that there are three possible ways to manage spectrum

Command & Control RegimeOfcom manages it

Market Forces RegimeCompanies manage it

Licence-exempt Regime Nobody manages it

Approach that is currently adopted for about 94%+ of the spectrum

Approach advocated by Cave and implemented by trading and liberalisation

Approach currently adopted for 6%+ of spectrum, some argue for radical increase

  • We need to decide the right balance between the regimes.

  • Regimes are currently demarcated by frequency. However, there are also dimensions of power and time.

In the SFR we said that there are three possible ways to manage spectrum

+ The spectrum percentages correspond to frequencies up to 60 GHz, exclude spectrum used by the MoD, and represent percentages of amounts of spectrum bandwidth relative to the band centre frequency, rather than absolute amounts.


The sfr discussion of licence exemption le

  • Increasing licence-exempt allocation to 7%+ of total spectrum allows enough for everyone to install equipment capable of delivering 100Mbits/s data services in homes or offices.

  • Key area for innovation but we do not need much more.

  • Focus on removing restrictions, e.g. higher power in rural areas.

Today

6%

7%

2010

The SFR discussion of licence-exemption (LE)

+ The spectrum percentages correspond to frequencies up to 60 GHz, exclude spectrum used by the MoD, and represent percentages of amounts of spectrum bandwidth relative to the band centre frequency, rather than absolute amounts.


Higher power le usage in rural areas

Higher power LE usage in rural areas

  • We studied the technical and economic issues associated with higher power LE usage in rural areas in detail.

  • The business case was marginal because there were few homes and businesses that were unable to obtain broadband access.

  • Interference concerns were significant

    • In rural areas there might be interference to areas such as airports and motorways.

    • There was a risk that rural devices would be used in urban areas.

  • As a result, we concluded that there was insufficient benefit to outweigh the risks of increasing the power in rural areas

Unserved households in the UK


Contents1

Contents

  • Previous work on licence-exemption

  • The current situation with licence-exemption

  • Key aims and objectives from licence-exempt spectrum

  • The key proposals

  • Our vision for licence exempt spectrum


Spectrum used by licence exempt devices

Spectrum used by licence-exempt devices

  • A wide range of bands are used by LE devices.

  • At frequencies below 1 GHz these tend to be narrow and fragmented, supporting low-rate (e.g. telemetry) services.

  • By far the highest value is delivered within the 2.4 GHz band

    Unanswered questions:

  • Should we have more spectrum for LE?

  • Should these be for specific applications?

  • What rules should apply to LE devices?

  • Should all spectrum above a certain frequency and below a certain power be LE?


Current le bands are lightly used

Current LE bands are lightly used

At 2.4GHz average utilisation is 10%

Red bar gives mean utilisation, grey boxes provide max and min recorded levels


Delivering on the vision of the sfr

Delivering on the vision of the SFR

  • In the SFR we suggested an increase in LE spectrum of 1%, relating perhaps to an additional 200MHz at 5GHz

  • Our recent measurements suggest a low level of utilisation of LE spectrum, especially in the existing 5GHz bands

  • Hence, there seems little reason at this stage to extend the LE allocation in these bands

  • We will keep this under review but at present do not expect to provide additional LE spectrum by 2010 at 5GHz


Contents2

  • Previous work on licence-exemption

  • The current situation with licence-exemption

  • Key aims and objectives from licence-exempt spectrum

  • The key proposals

  • Our vision for licence exempt spectrum

Contents


Licence exemption may be appropriate in some cases to maximise the efficient use of the spectrum

Licence exemption may be appropriate in some cases to maximise the efficient use of the spectrum

  • Ofcom’s main objective is to maximise the efficient use of the spectrum – measured in terms of economic efficiency

  • There are two reasons why making a band licence-exempt might achieve this

1: Higher economic value

Making a band LE might result in more economic value than licensing it. To test this we need to make a forward prediction of use under licensed and LE usage

2: Supply exceeds demand

In some bands, particularly at very high frequencies, there is more supply than demand and hence licensing imposes an unnecessary bureaucratic burden


A preference for international coordination

A preference for international coordination

  • In general, we prefer the market to achieve coordination and harmonisation through trading and change of use of spectrum in multiple countries

  • However, LE spectrum requires regulatory intervention to identify the spectrum and establish the rules for its operation giving little opportunity for market forces to modify parameters

  • As a result, it would generally be preferable for regulators to coordinate internationally as far as possible in order to achieve harmonised strategies and allocations

  • We will work with CEPT, EC and ITU to aim for a harmonised approach to LE spectrum as far as possible although equally we will not unduly delay our initiatives if harmonisation appears difficult to achieve


Contents3

  • Previous work on licence-exemption

  • The current situation with licence exemption

  • Key aims and objectives from licence-exempt spectrum

  • The key proposals

  • Our vision for licence exempt spectrum

Contents


Our proposals fall into three key areas

Better use of LE spectrum

LE above a given frequency

LE below a given power level

Adoption of shared LE bands but with zoning by power and use of politeness protocols

Above 60GHz most of the spectrum can be made LE

At similar power levels to UWB usage can be made exempt

Our proposals fall into three key areas


Better use of le 1 making bands available for a range of applications

Better use of LE (1): Making bands available for a range of applications

  • Some bands are reserved for particular applications (eg DECT) while others are more generally available (eg 2.4GHz)

  • Making a band application-specific tends to reduce the probability of interference but also reduces the utilisation and scope for innovation

  • Similar levels of interference control can be achieved through “zoning” and the use of politeness protocols – this is our preferred approach

Zoning

The division of the LE bands into those for low power or low utilisation devices and those for higher power/utilisation devices since high power devices tend to crowd out lower power ones.

A role for the regulator

Politeness protocols

Techniques such as “listen before talk” to ensure that all users get a fair share of access to the spectrum and that different technologies do not attempt to drown each other out

A role for the standards bodies


Making better use of le 2 limited use of light licensing

Making better use of LE (2): Limited use of light licensing

  • Light licensing is an approach where anyone wanting to use the spectrum has to register their details in a database

    • Varying degrees of light licensing might require them to resolve interference if it is their fault

  • Benefits include

    • An ability to coordinate with incumbents such as satellite operators to work around particular geographical areas

    • Lower risk of interference for users under some regimes

  • In general, we believe that devices will increasingly be able to deliver the same low risk of interference through self-coordination

  • We accept that this is not the case yet and that light licensing will have a role to play

  • We expect to make decreasing use of it over time


Le above a given frequency

LE above a given frequency

  • At higher frequencies the spectrum is increasingly little used

    • This is due to the poor propagation and high equipment costs

  • The probability of interference is low because of the low range of devices

  • This results in an area of spectrum where supply exceeds demand and hence licensing is unnecessary

  • There is some use in these bands, and given that there is excess supply we propose to leave existing use unchanged

Licence-exempt

Light-licensed

Licensed


Exemption of low power transmitters

Exemption of low-power transmitters

  • Below a certain power level devices generally do not cause material interference

  • The FCC has long had a “Part 15” limit below which devices are allowed to operate without a licence

  • The UWB legislation effectively sets a low power limit in Europe

  • We propose to extend this above 10GHz

Below 10GHz the line shows the UWB limits. Above 10GHz the upper line is our proposal for low-sensitivity applications and the lower line for high sensitivity applications


Exemption of low power transmitters 1

Exemption of low-power transmitters (1)

  • Radio devices which transmit at sufficiently low power levels do not cause material interference. Such devices are candidates for licence-exemption.

  • Can we define generic power limits below which all transmitters are exempt from licensing?

  • The FCC has long had a Part 15 limit below which devices are allowed to operate without a licence.

  • The UWB legislation effectively sets such power limits in Europe

    (for transmitter bandwidths greater than 50 MHz).

  • We propose generic radiation power limits that are:

    1) based on UWB limits for frequencies < 10.6 GHz.

    2) based on a relaxation of UWB limits for frequencies > 10.6 GHz.

    and below which all transmitters are exempt from licensing.


Exemption of low power transmitters 2

Exemption of low-power transmitters (2)

  • Proposed generic radiation power limits (guidelines):

Relaxed limits for underlay co-existence with insensitive

services

(20 dB/decade)

UWB Limits

Relaxed limits for underlay co-existence with sensitive

(e.g. passive)

services

(20 dB/decade)

10.6

GHz


Exemption of low power transmitters 3

0.05 m2

0.5 m2

UWB

2 m2

Activity factor 5%

Min. distance 2 m

0.05 m2

0.5 m2

2 m2

Activity factor 100%

Min. distance 0.15 m

Exemption of low-power transmitters (3)

  • Limits on mean EIRP spectral density, such that aggregate interference from transmitters exceeds 5% of ambient noise with a probability of 0.1%.

  • Free-space link-budget deteriorates with the square of frequency for a specific receiver antenna gain.

  • Increasing EIRPs can be tolerated at higher frequencies, with incumbent receivers experiencing the same marginal degradation in their performance.


Contents4

  • Previous work on licence-exemption

  • The current situation with licence exemption

  • Key aims and objectives from licence-exempt spectrum

  • The key proposals

  • Our vision for licence exempt spectrum

Contents


The ofcom licence exempt spectrum vision

The Ofcom licence-exempt spectrum vision

We will providing spectrum for licence-exempt use where it will enhance the efficiency of spectrum use

Our preference will be for the spectrum to be used by a wide range of applications, subject to regulator-defined constraints on radiated power characteristics, and authorised polite protocols defined by standardisation bodies

We support the licence-exempt usage of unused high-frequency bands, especially those above 100 GHz

We support the exemption from licensing of all low-power transmissions below the UWB limits (with a relaxation of those limits at frequencies above 10.6 GHz)


Consultation questions 1

Consultation questions (1)

  • Q1: Do you agree that the spectrum commons model should be the preferred approach for licence-exempt use of spectrum, and that application-specific allocations should only be considered where technical constraints or safety issues require this?

  • Q2: Do you agree with the proposal for multiple classes of spectrum commons?

  • Q3: Do you agree with the distinction made between the licence-exemption and light-licensing regimes?

  • Q4: Do you agree with the view that the licence-exemption and light-licensing regimes will converge in the future?

  • Q5: Do you agree with the proposed mixture of licence-exempt and light-licensed use of the 105−275 GHz spectrum? Do you agree with the bands that have been identified for such use?


Consultation questions 2

Consultation questions (2)

  • Q6: Do you agree with the view that the use of the 275−1000 GHz spectrum should be licence-exempt?

  • Q7: Do you agree with the view on the levels of future demand for licence-exempt usage in the 40−105 GHz spectrum? Do you agree that the Group-A bands identified above should be considered for licence-exempt use? Do you agree that licence-exempt and light-licensed use of the Group-C bands identified above should only be considered when there is evidence of demand for such use?

  • Q8: Do you think it could be desirable for transmissions at levels below certain power spectral density limits to be exempt from licensing?

  • Q9: Do you agree with the transmission limits proposed in this document?

  • Q10: Do you agree with the harmonisation strategy discussed above in the context of licence-exempt devices?

  • Q11: Do you agree with the view that no additional regulatory instruments, beyond those available today, are required for the protection of licence-exempt equipment?


Consultation info

Consultation Info

  • For more information on the LEFR consultation

    • http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/lefr/

  • For more information on other open Ofcom Consultations

    • http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/?sector=Radiocommunications&open=Yes&submit=Go

  • For more information on closed Ofcom Consultations or regulatory statements

    • http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/?open=No&sector=Radiocommunications


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