MP for Windsor
Working Hard For You
Making more spectrum available for the Internet and digital age
When you phone someone or connect to the Internet, your communications are 'carried by' the radio spectrum. This spectrum is finite, and as demand for the Internet increases, there will be less and less spectrum available. We need to release more of the spectrum from the public sector, so companies and households do not have to face 'digital blackouts' or sudden price hikes. These would be devastating to consumers and the economy. I am proud that in 2016 the Government committed that 750MHz of valuable public sector spectrum in bands under 10GHz will be made available by 2022, of which 500MHz will be made available by 2020.
I believe
  1. All spectrum usage across Government should be compiled in a central database.
  2. Government must release at least 650MHz of spectrum over the course of the next Parliament to private companies.
  3. Spectrum licences should be liberalised and restrictions softened.
  4. We must encourage research and development of new technology to boost spectrum efficiency.
Actions undertaken in Parliament
  1. Spoken in 6 debates on the Internet and 6 debates on broadband in the House of Commons
  2. Asked 9 written questions to Ministers
  3. Published over 10 articles in the national and local media
  4. Replied to more than 125 letters from constituents about broadband and Internet services
Recent activities
Radio spectrum efficiency

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to encourage public sector users of the radio spectrum to share bands.

Mr Edward Vaizey (Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries): All public sector spectrum users are subject to Administered Incentive Pricing (AIP) which serves to encourage spectrum to be used efficiently or released to other uses. This charge is set by HM Treasury with advice from Ofcom and the DCMS.


Vibrant broadband needs better access to the airwaves

The Internet is economically vital and a must-have fourth utility for most households. Demand is escalating and to stay ahead we must rethink how the limited spectrum is allocated as I argue today in Computer Weekly.

We must make sure that the UK telecommunications network – that carries all these digital signals – has a sustainable future. As demand for these services expand, the network must be able to handle this increase in traffic. That’s why I’m calling on the Government to release an extra 650MHz of spectrum to private businesses from the public sector.

Read the article on Computer Weekly


Releasing more spectrum to private companies

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent representations he has received on privatising a larger share of the radio spectrum; and if he will make a statement.

Edward Vaizey (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DCMS; Wantage, Conservative): Government is aware of the need to put more spectrum into the market to support innovation and growth and launched the Public Sector Spectrum Release Programme in 2011. This programme aims to release 500 MHz of sub-5GHz spectrum from public sector use by 2020.

One of the early actions was to gauge stakeholder demand at a series of events. The most recent programme update was published on 10 March 2014. On the same day Government published the UK Spectrum Strategy which sets out a vision for efficient and flexiblespectrum management, with specific actions and the goal of doubling the contribution of spectrum use to the economy by 2025. Both documents can be found on the website:


Private companies’ usage of spectrum

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proportion of the (a) 30-300MHz, (b)300-3000MHz and (c) 3-30GHz bands of the radio spectrum is in the operation of the private sector.

Edward Vaizey (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport; Wantage, Conservative): Officials have consulted Ofcom who hold such information. Ofcom advise that they do not hold such information for bands below 87.5MHz (as frequencies above this are considered to be the most important and usable), but have provided information for bands from 87.5MHz to 30GHz.

The table provides an overview of the proportion of total weighted spectrum accessed for market uses by band.

Lower frequency Upper frequency Spectrum authorised for market uses as a % of total weighted spectrum
87.5 MHz 328.6 MHz 47
328.6 MHz 3.1 GHz 73
3.1 GHz 30 GHz 80

The Public Sector Spectrum Release Programme aims to release 500MHz of sub-5GHz spectrum from public sector use by 2020. The most recent Programme update can be found on the website:


Improving rural and urban broadband through spectrum sharing

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative):To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the capacity of unused television spectrum devices to (a) provide broadband access to rural areas and (b) offload broadband demand in urban areas.

Edward Vaizey (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport; Wantage, Conservative): I have not made an assessment as this is a matter for Ofcom as the independent spectrum regulator. There are trials of devices that the hon. Member refers to, known as white space devices, which are under way to see if they can safely coexist with existing users. One recently launched in Cambridge. But it would be difficult for Ofcom to make any meaningful assessment of the use of white spaces in assisting with existing broadband coverage or capacity until the results of those trials become known.