Future Use of Spectrum

Page 1 of 4

Closes 23 Oct 2019


The Communications Commission (the Commission) is the statutory body responsible for regulating the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors in the Isle of Man. As part of its remit the Commission, in conjunction with Ofcom, is responsible for managing and determining access to the radio spectrum on the Island.

The use of spectrum on the Island is governed by UK legislation that has been extended to the Isle of Man, as well as by international agreements between the UK and other countries on the use of various bands of radio spectrum and the avoidance of interference across borders. The licensing of spectrum, in the UK and in the Isle of Man, is carried out by Ofcom, by virtue of the powers given to it by the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 (the WTA) and the Communications Act 2003*.

For the purposes of the spectrum relevant to this consultation, the respective roles of the Commission and Ofcom in coordinating the award of spectrum licences in the Isle of Man are as follows: 

  • The Commission ascertains the level and nature of demand for the spectrum in the specified bands. It identifies whether a selection process is needed. Eventually, when the assessment and selection process is completed, it makes a recommendation to Ofcom in relation to issuing licences under the WTA to Isle of Man operators, specifying the spectrum bands and the allocations within these bands that should be included within such licences; and 
  • Ofcom issues licences for spectrum use under the WTA where it is satisfied the Commission’s recommendation is consistent with its own statutory duties.

The WTA states, among other things, that in relation to spectrum licensing Ofcom must ‘also have regard, in particular, 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.’

In carrying out its duties in relation to determining access to the radio spectrum the Commission must be aware of its own statutory duties, as set in the Telecommunications Act 1984, which state that the Commission must exercise its functions in the manner it considers is best calculated to:

  • ‘secure that there are provided throughout the Island, save in so far as the provision thereof is impracticable or not reasonably practicable, such telecommunication services as satisfy all reasonable demands for them’ and
  • ‘promote the interests of consumers, purchasers and other users of telecommunication services or telecommunication apparatus in the Island (including in particular, those who are disabled or of pensionable age) in respect of the prices charged for, and the quality and variety of, services provided and apparatus supplied.’

The Commission is of the view that it is in  keeping with its statutory obligations, and in the best interests of the Manx consumer and economy to seek to facilitate access to portions of the spectrum (see Section 2.1 for further details) for the provision of telecoms services. This would be carried out in line with international developments that would allow operators, and ultimately consumers, to benefit from economies of scale and allow for the greatest possible range of services and technologies.

Related Information

*As extended to the Isle of Man by the The Communications (Isle of Man) Order 2003 SI 2003/3198 and the Wireless Telegraphy (Isle of Man) Order 2007 SI 2007/278 

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