Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society
G0MWT, GX0MWT, GB2MT, 2MT & M2T

Ofcom Consultation Surveys - Future of Amateur Radio



Latest Changes
14th July 2005 Updated the page. Added the Ofcom Amateur Radio Consultation info.


CONSULTATION ON THE FUTURE OF AMATEUR RADIO LICENSING

Issue
Ofcom have issued their Consultation Document for the future of Amateur Radio Licensing in the United Kingdom.
This consultation follows a similar line to the consultation Ofcom are currently undertaking with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on the future of ship and aeronautical licensing.     The consultation document quite clearly states that Ofcom proposes to reform Amateur Radio Licensing in order to reduce the regulatory burden on radio users.

Ofcom Consultation Document

Ofcom have produced a detailed paper on their Proposals. It is 32 pages long and reproduced below in PDF format. Rather than spend time reading it online, it is suggested that you "Saved it to Disk" on your computer to read at your leisure. Ignore the "Question Sheet" at pages 26 & 27 as a more user friendly version is produced below in Doc format for you to use.

Click on the links below. Having looked at them, click on your Browser's BACK button (top left) to come back to this Web Page.     If you use the magic "X", Top Right, you close your Browser!

Ofcom Amateur Radio License Proposals - in PDF format - 87KB - issued 26th May 2005

Response Questionaire for you to reply to Ofcom - in Doc Format - 16KB
Closing date is 5pm on 18th August 2005.

Please fill in your Name in the 2 places marked     xxxxxxxxx
& Club, if Applicable, marked     yyyyyyyyyy.

Send it as a Microsoft Word document as an Attachment to Ofcom to: -

    amateurradio@ofcom.org.uk

Dont rush to reply to Ofcom with a knee-jerk response. The RSGB has yet to put out guidelines and suggestions which reflect the current document (ie the real one - as opposed to earlier drafts), which is a lot more conciliatory than the Framework Review.


Deregulation
OFCOM have a legal requirement under the Communications Act and the European Directive to reduce the regulatory burden. Changing the renewal date of the licence does not change any regulation - Amateurs will still require a Licence.    Only deregulation can achieve any reduction in 'red tape'.

Background
In late December 2004 Ofcom and the RSGB met for off-line discussions on the content of the consultation document.    Ofcom tabled the first draft which contained four options for change:

oFull licensing deregulation;
oLicensing for life;
oExtend the current licence period from annual renewal to a licence for between 3 to 15 years;
oThe 'Do Nothing' option.

Due to existing legislation and agreements Ofcom did not consider full deregulation to be a feasible option at this time. They also intimated that the 'Do Nothing' option could also not be considered as under the terms of the Telecommunications Act 2003.

The RSGB believes that if it is not feasible now to make Amateur Radio WT Act licence-exempt due to International and legal obligations.    They question why it become feasible in 5 to 10 years time when no other administration across the world is even considering full deregulation. The RSGB will fight strongly against any moves to make amateur radio WT Act licence exempt.    Such a move would in the view of the RSGB:
oDisenfranchise all UK amateurs from the rest of the world;
oRemove the need for training and examinations;
oEnable anyone to purchase radio equipment and operate on the amateur bands;
oLead to widespread interference problems;
oWithout a recognised licence ALL UK amateurs would be prevented from operating abroad whilst on holiday;
oAny amateur who moves to live in another country would NOT have a licence to enable his or her new country of residence to issue a reciprocal licence;
oThe end of the coordinated UK Repeater and Data Packet networks.    This at a time when more management is necessary in certain amateur bands to meet criterion laid down by the Ministry of Defence;
oThe end of Notices of Variation which enable controlled research and development programmes to be undertaken by UK amateurs.    It would be probable that power limits currently imposed on radio amateur operation would be exceeded thus causing a high level of interference;
oEnd the current amateur band planning agreements;
oBe a risk to national security as the location of amateur radio stations would not be accurately known;
oDilute the support role that radio amateurs traditionally provide to the user services in the provision of radio communications support; oReduce the support given by the amateur radio community to education and training within the UK and lead to a further depletion of the UK skills base in radio communication and electronic engineering;
oA de-regulated service would mean there would not be a requirement for callsigns (contrary to the Radio Regulations)
oThey intend to do this by making Amateur Radio Licenses valid for life and to make electronic licences available free of charge.

To read the documents in full - see below:-

Click on what you wish to read. Having looked, click on your browser's BACK button (top left)
to come back to this Web Page. Do NOT "Close" the page.

Link to view some of the Amateur Radio Responses to date

Be careful using these as a basis for YOUR response because Ofcom seem to have only Uploaded those Responses which agree generally with what they want to do!.




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