back to article Ofcom smears 3G across spectrum

Ofcom has finally proposed the use of 3G technologies at 2G frequencies, slipping the amendment into a bundle of updates and tweaks that should get approval come August. The bundle includes updates to rules on Ultra Wide Band and permitting radar installations at level crossings, but also permits the deployment of 3G …


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Handset incompatibility

"one shouldn't expect to see 3G spreading immediately as there's neither the infrastructure nor the handsets to support that just yet"

I beg to differ. OK for the infrastructure not being there, but 3G handsets on the European market have been compatible with 3G on the 900MHz band for ages. Operators should concentrate on deploying 3G there rather than on 1800 MHz.


Rail Rant...

"and allowing National Rail to deploy radar (24GHz) on level crossings without requiring a licence for every one."

That'd be who now? Oh, you meant "Network Rail". I know that keeping up with the nom du jour of today's railway companies is challenging but Network Rail have been the infrastructure owner since 2002 - so do try to keep up!

"We're not convinced that radar would prevent every teenager-tries-to-beat-the-lights tragedy, but with 2000 "incidents" every year automated detection can probably save some lives."

What would save many more lives is idiot motorists learning the difference between a "conditional stop" as shown on a normal red traffic light and an "absolute stop" as shown on a wig-wag board - incidentally used at locations other than level crossings, including fire stations, lifting / swing bridges and at airfields where a public road passes close to the end of a runway.

You wouldn't try to "beat the lights" at a swing bridge or a fire station - don't do it in front of a train, which weighs much more than your puny car and takes far longer to stop from line-speed than you do from road-speed.

There are conditions where a motorist may proceed past a normal red traffic light, and emergency services vehicles may also pass a red light in certain conditions when observing appropriate caution. There are no conditions under which any vehicle is ever permitted to pass a wig-wag board showing red lights.

Learning, and following, the rules of the road would save far more lives than costly technological solutions.


Obstacle Detection

This technology is also required for the under-development technology of obstacle detection at Automatic Half Barrier (AHB) Crossings, the type of crossing which is the most common on our network. Unlike a CCTV crossing, which has full barriers and is overseen by a signaller, an AHB is not monitored and is entirely automatically controlled.

An AHB is operated by the passage of a train over a treadle, which starts the sequence of steady yellow, flashing red, closing barriers (If the treadle fails, an occupied track circuit will start an emergency lowering of the barriers). All this occurs 26 seconds before a train passes over the crossing at permitted line speed (Up to 100mph at an AHB crossing). Why the half barriers? As it is unmonitored, the half barriers allow a trapped driver to escape as only the barrier behind him/her closes, at a full or CCTV crossing, the signaller cannot clear the protecting signal until he/she can see that the crossing is clear.

It is very easy for someone to zig-zag around the barriers, or even to stop deliberately across the tracks (Ufton Nervet?). The DfT has recommended the development of radar obstacle detection equipment as a means of further protecting crossings. While this would be unlikely to bring a train to a complete stand before an occupied crossing (obstacle detection would only work after the barrier closing sequence has completed, giving a maximum of 15 or so seconds of warning to the train driver), it would slow it significantly therefore minimizing any fatalities.

In addition, while a GATSO style camera wouldn't stop these mindless idiots completely, it might deter enough of them to cut down on incidents, and save me from having to attend failures at my local level crossing where some tit has clipped the barrier as it is coming down.

Flashing wig-wag red means STOP! No exceptions! To quote my employer - Don't Run The Risk!


Greedy Telecoms

They paid for the 3G auctions in the hope that they will recoup all of it in a 3G Digital Britain. But when it came to implementation (ie builiding the infrastructure/ content / handsets / reasonable pricing etc) they were nowhere to be found. Only after 3 Network did the needful for its own survival and motive did others take notice and started deploying.

Till date 3G is flaky and they gloat about 80 to 90 percent coverage. (Covering their asses INHO).

It would be good if 3 netowrk and others start deploying on 900 frequency and stuff it up all the greedy telecoms. Now that would be competition in action, innit?


Orange didn't seem keen to give me a 3G sim.

I requested a new 3G compatible sim. The support person said they could only send me out a replacement 2G sim and I would need to buy one and gave me sales' number.

I phoned that number and the lady I got through to (who knew her stuff it seems) told me that it only cost a pouind and I get a pound of free credit with it.

She put me throught to someone to take the payment, and he managed to take a pound from my phone upgrade fund.

Why the first person couldn't just have sent one, I don't know.

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