back to article Ofcom head Sharon White slams 5G hold-up in spectrum auction

Head of Ofcom Sharon White has come out swinging against providers' legal challenges to its spectrum auction proposals – accusing them of derailing Britain’s “golden opportunity” to take a lead in 5G. Both Three and EE have launched separate judicial reviews against the UK comms watchdog over its forthcoming auction for the 2. …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "accusing them of derailing Britain’s “golden opportunity” to take a lead in 5G"

    and putting a dampener on our Christmas party. Where we going to get the cash from now?

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: "accusing them of derailing Britain’s “golden opportunity” to take a lead in 5G"

      I would be interested to know the grounds for believing in any such "golden opportunity". Apart from anything else 5G will be the subject of an international standard (see a later post on the subject) and the UK is highly unlikely to be a manufacturing base for any of the component hardware.

      So where, exactly, would this "lead" come from?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sharon White...where is the fibre backhaul for 5G? The necessary fibre required to feed 5G cells?

    Sharon White...where is the fibre backhaul for 5G? The necessary fibre infrastructure in place to feed 5G cells?

    Let's face it there just isn't the fibre backhaul capacity at the moment whatever Ofcom says regards 5G, it's pretty much non-existent in remote areas, to feed all these so-called 5G streetlamp cells offering downloads of 100Mpbs+.

    You need far more cells for 5G, more densely populated and the whole point of 5G is the handoff, control of the 5G carrier signal is done in the Cloud, using a high-speed fibre backhaul, in order the simplify the hardware (and cost) of what are in effect, streetlight cells, to get that level of blanket coverage.

    The hype surrounding 5G (and I'm all for it) just doesn't match the practical realities of the UK Network we have in place a the moment to provide the backhaul, and without more rollout of FTTP in the local loop by Openreach, it won't happen, because the backhaul can't be provided cheaply commercially off the back of extended rollout of FTTP into the local loop. 2% of UK Homes have fixed line FTTP, that says it all.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Sharon White...where is the fibre backhaul for 5G?

      ...without more rollout of FTTP in the local loop by Openreach, it won't happen...

      Without getting into an FTTC v FTTP debate are you suggesting the Openreach should flood - wire the UK with fibre on the basis that what might be a small percentage of it gets rented by 5G providers?

      That might be the best technical solution, but it is not one that recognises financial realities.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Sharon White...where is the fibre backhaul for 5G?

        ... are you suggesting the Openreach should flood - wire the UK with fibre on the basis that what might be a small percentage of it gets rented by 5G providers?

        That might be the best technical solution, but it is not one that recognises financial realities.

        No, however, unless BT do get on with it and flood wire there will be no dormant "dark fibre" fibre to satisfy Sharon's other dream:

        "And we see opportunities for “dark fibre”, BT’s dormant cabling that can be used by competitors."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sharon White...where is the fibre backhaul for 5G?

        You can't talk up (as a regulator/Government) ubiquitous blanket 5G from street lights yet not have the necessary fibre backhaul infrastructure in place to deliver that, that's what I'm saying. The practical implementation of 5G as it's been described is just not possible in the way Gov/Ofcom are describing its rollout.

        FTTC has its place now, that decision is done (you can't look back), it doesn't mean from now we should be continuing on this obfuscated, bamboozled "up to" copper carcass network of BT's, for the benefit of BT, when it is clearly now only in BT's interest, not the UK as a whole.

        Network Management is the only thing masking the current network congestion, and people aren't getting the capacity they are paying for at peak times, it doesn't live up to the hype.

        G.fast is a dead end technology, sweating copper to its limits. It's also highly susceptible to deliberate interference from cheap signal generators, so not a good choice in terms of security that we so now need with regard to the Telecoms Network.

        It's basically very bad choice/route to take. I keep saying it, but G.fast is going to be a "can of worms" to rectify/fault find going forward.

        I admit, if you want to test G.fast, Edinburgh's tenements are probably a good place as any to test G.fast pods, but its overall market for G.fast is limited to tenements, regards the BT network as a whole and BT are wasting far too many resources developing Pointless G.fast further. At 500m by cable length (250m as the crow flies) G.fast is at it's limit of usefulness because those active G.fast pods require connecting to the grid. Whatever hype there is about backfeeding the supply in the UK, we're nowhere near that, on the grounds of safety.

        As said, G.fast is a dead end technology. Enough is enough.

        It's time to make the switch. We have to find more efficient methods/processes to deploy real fibre and I'm fed up of hearing the usual line "Fibre is expensive, FTTC/G.fast is cheap", once you add in all the ancillary costs to support "up to" FTTC/G.fast, further copper deployment isn't cheap at all.

    2. kingnj

      5G auction is unfair to rural consumers and businesses

      In addition to the absence of backhaul, as has been stated by others the number of base stations required will force the mobile operators to only deploy in cities leaving the spectrum fallow in the rural areas. The rural WISPs require this spectrum in order to be able to deliver high availability ultrafast service. Ofcom have decided that the mobile operators only will get this spectrum leaving 93% without either 5G or high speed broadband.

  3. MJI Silver badge

    What is currently at 3.4?

    Looks like amateur radio may be a victim

  4. EnviableOne Silver badge
    Stop

    What is 5G

    Has anyone actually defined a standard yet?

    untill they have, whats all the fuss about

    <qoute>The ITU doesn’t anticipate having a draft of the 5G standard ready until towards the end of 2017 or early 2018. A definitive, finalised 5G standard probably won’t be agreed upon until mid–2019 - not long before 5G’s expected 2020 rollout.</quote>

    from 5g.co.uk

  5. kingnj

    An additional problem with this auction is that Ofcom are not following their statutory duty with regard to spectrum efficiency where the spectrum will only be deployed by the mobile operators in 7% of the nation. The spectrum could also be made available to WISPs for rural broadband without affecting cities where the mobile operators will deploy. Ofcom have chosen not to do that without sufficient explanation or apparently understanding of the probable mobile deployments.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Sharon,

    Why don’t you get off your arse and actually do some work to ensure the whole of the UK has decent (or indeed any) 4G coverage? It would be great if for once the UK didn’t have third world standard infrastructure.

    Thanks,

    The bits of the UK that aren’t London.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      The bits of the UK that aren’t London.

      I dunno. Here in the bucolic delights of Swindon we have pretty good 4G coverage. That *might* have something to do with the fact that the Road to Power (the M4) runs right past the town..

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Useless tossers

    Probably better of without Ofcom.

    1. nijam

      Re: Useless tossers

      > Probably better of without Ofcom.

      GPO managed things so much better </sarcasm>

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