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Ofcom to reclaim digital TV airwaves for mobile broadband to meet growing on-the-move data demand

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

November 19, 2014 | 3 min read

Broadcast regulator Ofcom has announced that it will transfer some of the radio bandwidth allocated to digital TV to mobile data carriers to meet the growing demand for data.

Frequencies in the 700 MHz band such as Freeview, and wireless microphones will be segmented off for mobile data.

Ofcom will reclaim some of the spectrum from digital TV

With the rise of streaming and cable TV, the watchdog acknowledged the potential of mobile data with the move. Ofcom claimed demand for mobile data in the UK could be 45 times higher by 2030. As a result it looks to implement the changes by 2022.

Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, said: “This is a crucial next step in the development of the UK's communications infrastructure.

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"This decision ensures that we are making the raw materials available with which investors and companies can build the services which will support the digital economy of the future.

"More spectrum will be available for mobile broadband where demand is especially high, but the UK will retain a competitive terrestrial television platform as well."

Earlier this month, Ofcom announced that it was going to auction off more radio spectrum capable of carrying 4G data to interested parties.

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