The FCS Business Radio Group, represents the interests of businesses and organisations involved in the manufacture and distribution of business radio products and services, organisations using business radio systems, spectrum licensees, spectrum managers, and applications providers. The group has been active in supporting the business radio community since 1982.
FCS members give Ofcom the heads-up
The management of the UK radio is undergoing a period of transition. Many FCS BR members have noticed severe shortages of channels in the popular bands in metro areas. Pressure is mounting to move services to other bands that may not have appropriate equipment available for use in it. Government is seeking to find an additional 1200MHz of UK spectrum for IMT (International Mobile Telephone) applications, which is putting additional pressure on the UHF bands. Congestion and interference issues are expected to spread to every major urban area in the country, including where there has historically never been a significant spectrum shortage.
In general, there are serious difficulties in most of the professional radio bands and for most of the critical national infrastructure like ports, railways etc as well as professional services. Many of the services have potentially huge positive benefits for the country; as a matter of national importance they have to be supported by appropriate radio spectrum.
The question facing Ofcom and the UK Government is what is the UK going to do about it? FCS has been informing the debate from the very beginning. Not just with specific responses to individual Ofcom and DCMS consultations, but with high-level policy documents to inform and challenge policy-makers with the real experiences of industry professionals.
FCS’ Spectrum Strategy Group led the debate by first creating a “Light Paper”, summarising the business users’ position, for input to Ofcom at the beginning of their latest Five Year Strategy Plan in 2012. The FCS paper provides the underpinning of much of FCS’ current policy stance, with a coherent and substantiated input on a wide range of relevant spectrum topics. To see a copy, click here
The non-quantifiable benefits of Business Radio
2013’s so-called 4G auction of ‘digital dividend’ spectrum in the 800MHz and 1.4GHz bands highlighted the government’s one-dimensional approach of measuring the value of spectrum in terms purely of what it would fetch at auction. But it’s vital government – and society at large – understands that business radio is the vital enabling technology that allows ports, transport and utilities to function, allows emergency services to coordinate responses to 999 calls and enables sporting and social events to take place.
The most important recent research on this crucial value of business radio to UK plc was led by Tim Cull of Telecoms Policy Services Ltd for FCS in 2010, to determine the views of industry and major users on the future requirements for business Radio in the coming decade.
The report of the research concludes:
Spectrum market principles for radio spectrum allocation are not applicable
The ultimate value of business radio to the nation is huge
A strategic review of business radio and how spectrum is allocated is urgently needed, led by the Government so that the public interest can be taken into account.
Business Radio Council
The Business Radio Group is led by a Council of representatives from the group under the chairmanship of Roy Pierce of Procom and John Grant of Digial Angel Radio Communications as the Deputy Chairman. The Council meets quarterly and Sub groups are set up to support sub sector projects: current sub groups include Critical National Infrastructure, Engineer training and codes of practice