UK communications regulator Ofcom today introduced new regulations to extend wireless broadband access across the country, including in rural areas.
The regulations cover the 5.8 GHz band, currently used by a number of operators to provide fixed wireless broadband services in the UK. Under the new regulations, which come into effect today, the operators will be able to increase power levels, potentially extending the range and variety of services into parts of the country that were previously not covered. This is likely to have its most marked effect in rural areas.
Ofcom’s Communications Market Report: Nations and Regions published earlier this month found that while the geographic gap is closing a digital divide still existed in the UK. The report showed that 41 per cent of adults living in rural areas had broadband Internet at home compared to 45 per cent of adults in urban areas. The power increase in this band will make it less expensive for operators intending to use this band to provide fixed broadband access to remote parts of the UK.
Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards said: “This measure means communities across the country may be able to benefit from access to a new form of broadband. That is what closing the digital divide is all about.”
Today’s announcement follows a public consultation held last year. In order to allow changes to the regulations, Ofcom had to amend to the UK Interface Requirement (IR 2007) and carry out the notification procedure required under EU law.