Spectrum auction not expected until 2011, says Meek


The spectrum auction to enable LTE or 4G technology is unlikely to happen before 2011, according to Kip Meek, the independent spectrum broker appointed during the Digital Britain report process.

During a Westminster eForum event, Meek claimed the planned auction of the 2.6GHz spectrum that had already been put back from 2008, was now coming at the "wrong time in the electoral cycle," as pushing plans through so close to an election could prove difficult.

"Governments do not have any choice about that," The Guardian reported him as saying.

"The importance of this point is for the next government, be it Tory or Labour or some other: the issues that Digital Britain was grappling with, of which this [spectrum] was an important part, are extremely complicated. It's better to have a run at them."

Although there has been a lot of protest from the companies who currently own the majority of the spectrum, many will be disappointed not to be able to extend the new technology which is becoming more standardised across Europe.

Meek concluded: "I hope that after the election we can look at some of these issues again. Those we have not made progress on we can take a fresh view on."

Last month, O2 and Huawei completed their first fully operational trial of LTE achieving internet speeds of 150Mbps around their headquarters in Slough. However this was only a 24 hour pilot and there are no plans as yet to make this commercially available.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.