Ofcom to borrow ‘wireless technology spectrum’ to help ensure Commonwealth Games coverage proceeds without a hitch

TO cater for a 3,000-strong media pack that is expected to descend on Scotland next year, to cover the Commonwealth Games taking place in Glasgow, ‘spectrum’ is to be ‘borrowed’ from the Ministry of Defence to help ensure mobile phone and other wireless communications proceed without a hitch.

Say broadcasting regulators, Ofcom: “Nearly 3,000 accredited media will descend on Glasgow between 23 July – 3 August 2014 for the Games, bringing with them an unprecedented need for spectrum – the wireless infrastructure that underpins all forms of mobile communication.

“Demand will be fuelled by the increasing use of wireless technologies by broadcasters, such as wireless cameras and wireless microphones, which will deliver dramatic and close-up action coverage to a potential global audience of over a billion people worldwide.”

The MoD spectrum borrowing is just one of several solutions Ofcom has come up with.

It adds: “Demand from wireless technologies that will help ensure the smooth running of the Games is likely to be significantly heightened, with broadcasters aiming to get viewers ever closer to the action.

“Careful management of Scotland’s airwaves will be essential for the coverage and organisation of the Games. However, Ofcom has been working on planning since 2009 to ensure that viewers will not miss any of the sporting action.

“It is expected that the demand will come from the following sources: Increased use of wireless cameras to achieve more dramatic and close-up action shots; more wireless microphones to add flexibility in capturing the sounds of the Games; wireless location, timing and scoring technology to give more detailed and immediate information about the event as it happens; wireless communications used by team members, sports officials, organisers and support staff; sports commentaries distributed wirelessly to the venue audience for the benefit of hearing and visually impaired spectators; and the use of wireless communications by security and emergency staff to keep everyone at the event safe.”

And Ofcom says it will be meeting demand in the following ways:

“By borrowing spectrum on a short-term basis from public sector bodies, such as the Ministry of Defence; ensuring that civil spectrum is used efficiently by making unused frequencies available (an example of this is spectrum that will shortly be auctioned by Ofcom, but is currently not being used); and using spectrum that is available without the need for a licence.”