Satellite Bulletin: UK: Ofcom's strategic review of satellite and space science spectrum use


The increasing and competing demands for spectrum, a finite resource, from different sectors and for various applications is the catalyst for Ofcom to undertake a review of the current and future trends that might impact the demand for, and availability of, spectrum for the satellite and space science sectors.

Strategic review - call for input

As part of this review, Ofcom have issued a Call for Input to seek the views of the satellite and space science communities as to:


  • applications delivered by the satellite and space science sectors and the benefits that these may provide to consumers and citizens in the UK and Europe more generally, including public policy objectives;
  • the value chains for the services and applications delivered and the players within the sectors and their roles;
  • market and technology trends that could influence the sectors over the next 10 to 20 years; 
  • trends in demand for certain applications across the value chain, and the drivers of demands for the applications; and
  • potential techniques which could mitigate any potential gap between the future demand and the availability of spectrum.

Ofcom's review will help inform future priorities, policy decisions and the allocation of spectrum. For example, whether potential developments in demand, supply and mitigation techniques may require regulatory intervention by Ofcom, along with actions by regulators in other countries or internationally, to address any imbalances.

The review complements the work that Ofcom is undertaking in other sectors, particularly in relation to future mobile data services.

In relation to the review, Ofcom consider:

  • the “satellite sector” to encompass all commercial and military uses of satellite services (e.g. FSS, MSS, BSS, RNSS, inter satellite services, space operations and end-user and other applications); and
  • the “space science sector” to include all science uses of satellites, space communications and the reception of naturally occurring radio emissions (e.g. Earth exploration satellite services, radio astronomy services and passive and active applications such as weather forecasting, security and monitoring and disaster prediction).
Next steps

The closing date for responses is 13 August 2015. Ofcom will then consider the responses and the trends and drivers affecting these sectors and the implications for spectrum use and allocation. Ofcom plan to publish their findings in early 2016.