UK Preps New Spectrum Auctions For ‘Very High-Speed’ Broadband

UK telco regulator Ofcom will this summer embark on its biggest ever sale of radio spectrum when it auctions both the 2010-2025MHz block and the 2500-2690MHz block (commonly called 2.6GHz), paving the way for faster mobile broadband. Ofcom said it would usher in “high-speed, high-capacity mobile data connections enabling the delivery of advanced mobile services using technologies such as WiMAX or evolutions of 3G technology”. The fancy 2.6GHz band is being made available in 38 blocks of 5MHz while the other band comes as a single offering.

Conventional carriers may not be too happy – they’re miffed at spending £22.5 billion ($45 billion in today’s money) for the original 3G spectrum in 2000, believing it to grant a certain exclusivity over high-speed services. Last month, Ofcom unveiled plans to auction the 1452-1492MHz “L-band” for mobile TV or broadband and will shortly begin consulting on how to offload the “digital dividend” of spectrum that will be freed when the UK TV is moved from analogue to digital by 2012. Here’s the 198-page briefing. Announcement.