UK regulator Ofcom has published plans to open up new wavelengths for broadband fixed wireless services.

The regulator intents opening the 71-76GHz and 81-86GHz bands for licensed use, bands which aren't in commercial use at this time.

Ofcom observed that "new technology offers the possibility of new applications for these higher frequency bands," speculating that these could include very high capacity, point-to-point wireless networks, which could potentially be used as alternatives to fibre optic cable. Possible data speeds range from 1Gb per second to 10Gb per second over distances of 1-2 km. In comparison, copper loops typically enable connection speeds of between 1 and 24 Mbps.

Ofcom proposes to adopt a flexible, light licensing approach to making this spectrum available, making the band available on a first come, first served basis. This is because this wavelength's unusual properties (high bandwidth, narrow beam) mean that a very large number of users could co-exist without interference. Demand for the spectrum is therefore very unlikely to exceed supply.

The consultation runs until 2 August 2006.