Glasgow 2014 Games: Ofcom ready for heightened spectrum demand

Ofcom today published its final plans for ensuring that the spectrum demands for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games are met.

Nearly 3000 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.

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
  • The use of wireless communications by security and emergency staff to keep everyone at the event safe

To meet the extra demands during Games time, Ofcom has developed a plan to secure additional capacity. This will be achieved in three main 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
  • Using spectrum that is available without the need for a licence

“We’ve been working behind the scenes for a long time now to ensure that the demands on Glasgow’s finite spectrum reserves will be met,” says Ofcom’s Vicki Nash. “It’s great to see Ofcom’s extensive experience and expertise in spectrum management showcased in such a high profile way with an event like Glasgow 2014. We look forward to providing a seamless service to the thousands of users that will be depending on spectrum over the course of the 12 day event.”

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