RCF Support and Funding for Ofcom Innovation and Trial Licence Applications by Universities

Ofcom have available Innovation and trial licences (I&T licences) to enable access and use of the radio spectrum for the purposes of research and development. The RCF Trustees feel that this type of licence could potentially be of interest to universities conducting research and to develop and trial innovative wireless technologies.

The RCF will consider funding such a licence and possibly any projects that might require this type of licence and are encouraging universities to apply to the RCF directly (by sending an email to rcfsecretary@commsfoundation.org ) so that their application for funding can be considered. Licences fees start at £50 per 12 month period.

I&T licences are totally separate from the amateur radio licensing regime and enable access to radio spectrum without the requirement to obtain any formal qualification beforehand. The I&T licence is therefore attractive to those interested only in research and development but may be a pathway for those wishing to take up amateur radio going forward.

According to Ofcom’s web site, Ofcom has a duty to ensure the optimal use of radio spectrum, the scarce resource that underpins the wireless and mobile services on which many citizens, consumers and businesses depend. Under section 154(2) of the Communications Act 2003 and under section 3(2) of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006, Ofcom must have regard to the desirability of promoting the efficient management and use of the part of the electromagnetic spectrum available for wireless telegraphy, the economic and other benefits that may arise from the use of wireless telegraphy, the development of innovative services, and competition in the provision of electronic communications services.

Further information about Innovation and trial licensing is available on the Ofcom web site at the following link: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/manage-your-licence/radiocommunication-licences/non-operational-licences

Operating a transmitter under the authority of an I&T licence may also require electromagnetic fields (EMF) compliance as per Condition 7 of the Ofcom Wireless Telegraphy Conditions booklet – OfW 597 depending on the transmitted power level.

Ofcom do not issue callsigns with regard to the I&T licence. However, licensees can utilise their own callsigns, in a format of their own choice. It is considered prudent to use a callsign and to let Ofcom Spectrum Licensing have the details, in order to more easily identify your transmissions in cases involving harmful interference being reported by other spectrum users.