UK regulator Ofcom has published proposals outlining how it plans to release more radio spectrum for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Ofcom said that demand for spectrum would be “unprecedented” at the games with thousands of different wireless services required during the seven weeks of the event. The spectrum will be used for private mobile radios so the London Organising Committee (LOCOG) and members of the Olympic Family can keep in contact at the Olympic Park and the 35 other Games venues across the UK (including the offshore sailing events); and to support broadcasting services for some 20,000 members of the media. For the latter, Ofcom said spectrum was required for wireless microphones, in-ear monitors used by broadcasters and event participants to listen to instructions, and wireless cameras for broadcasting pictures from within and outside the venues. Other uses include satellite services to carry voice, data and video transmissions, accessing remote control cameras, and providing Wi-Fi hotspots for spectators and visitors.

Ofcom’s proposals identify three different sources where the extra spectrum could be found: the efficient use of civil spectrum, the temporary borrowing of spectrum on a short-term basis from public sector bodies such as the Ministry of Defence, and the use of licence-exempt spectrum. However, Ofcom added that it was committed to minimising the impact on current spectrum use and demand. The consultation period for the proposals closes on 5 August 2009, while a full plan is expected to be announced by year-end.