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RSGB “Deeply Disappointed” in Regulator’s Attitude toward Amateur Radio in 5 GHz Proceeding


In comments filed in July, the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) has told telecommunications regulator Ofcom that it was “deeply disappointed” that it failed to recognize Amateur Radio’s innovational activity at 5 GHz and that it did not engage the Amateur Radio community in its proceeding, Improving Spectrum Access for Consumers in the 5 GHz Band. The proceeding (or “consultation”) proposes an expansion of the 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands that could affect so-called “weak-signal” narrowband and moonbounce users as well as for satellite downlinks, while also inhibiting innovation of Amateur Radio mesh and other data systems.

“Despite some unjustified UK-specific amateur licensing restrictions, the 5GHz band is home to a significant and growing amount of innovation which should be allowed to prosper and not suffer from harmful interference,” the RSGB said. “[W]e are deeply disappointed that Ofcom has so far failed to recognize this and that it would have been prudent to engage with us more fully, so that both technical and impact assessments could have been far more accurate.”

RSGB said it is “deeply opposed” as well to outdoor Wi-Fi usage in the 5730-5850 MHz band, where “most sensitive” Amateur Radio applications operate — 5760 MHz narrowband usage and 5840 MHz satellite downlinks.

The RSGB contended that Ofcom “has deliberately not contacted the most innovative incumbents/stakeholders” prior to the formal consultation period, and that as incumbents, “we have been blocked from contact during the consultation.” The RSGB said it expects Ofcom “to make amends and engage,” and that the regulator’s research “is badly flawed and belittles incumbents.”

The RSGB also argued that the poor building penetration characteristics of 5 GHz and relatively slow practical speeds “make it important that additional ideal spectrum available at UHF and 60 GHz is also put to real use.”

AMSAT-UK also commented in the consultation, disputing Ofcom’s assertions regarding the altitude of Amateur Radio satellites and pointing out which ham satellites are using the 5 GHz band. 



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