Ofcom And New EMF Guidelines For Spectrum Users

Ofcom is introducing new licence conditions for spectrum users, to ensure their equipment continues to operate within international electromagnetic field (EMF) guidelines.

All use of spectrum generates electromagnetic fields.

There are international safety guidelines – developed by the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) – that set the maximum levels of EMF exposure for protection of the general public. These levels are endorsed by Public Health England.

Manufacturers, installers and operators of wireless equipment should already be aware of the ICNIRP guidelines and factor them into how they plan their services.

To ensure this always remains the case, we proposed new conditions for spectrum licensees earlier this year. Following consultation, we have now decided to introduce the new licence conditions.

This means licensees using equipment that is authorised to transmit at power levels higher than 10 Watts must operate within the ICNIRP guidelines as a condition of their Ofcom licence – including keeping data and records of any testing to demonstrate their compliance.

NEW ONLINE TOOL

While most spectrum licensees should already be factoring the ICNIRP guidelines into their services, we will be launching an online tool (our EMF calculator) to help make it as simple as possible for people to check whether the use of their radio equipment is likely to comply with the guidelines. This will be available on a trial basis initially and we will take account of the feedback we receive before launching the full version.

NEXT STEPS

Alongside our decision to introduce the new licence condition, we have published a consultation covering the updated wording of the condition; our updated Guidance on EMF Compliance and Enforcement; and a trial version of our new online EMF Calculator. We welcome feedback to this by 16 November, after which we will then begin varying the relevant licences to include the new condition. We will also launch our finalised online EMF calculator

Colin M6BOY