Olympic communications require MoD spectrum

June 1, 2017

The 2012 Olympics will put a marathon strain on the UK’s airwaves, prompting Ofcom to ask the Ministry of Defence (MoD) if it can borrow some of its spectrum.

Thousands of athletes, broadcasters, and security officials, as well as millions of visitors, will result in an unprecedented level of wireless communications being broadcast from London.

Official communications will be wireless, with 20,000 broadcasters from 200 countries relying on wireless equipment such as microphones and cameras to transmit the event to 5 billion global viewers.

Security officials, meanwhile, will be using two-way radios and Bluetooth enabled mobile phones to communicate orders and security threats.

Ofcom is concerned that the current wireless spectrum could become overcrowded or inaccessible in an emergency, so it is asking to borrow extra spectrum from the MoD or another government department.

The MoD’s spectrum would be secure, and large quantities are available because the military controls over 75% of radio spectrum.

Ofcom will release its final decision in August on the use of additional spectrum during the Olympics.

Use of some public agency spectrum was one of the guarantees given by the UK government during the London 2012 Olympic bid.


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