As a nation we must make the best use of the scarce resource that is the radio spectrum. That means more sharing of
specific frequency bands, including some used for aviation. But we are very clear that this will only happen in a way
that remains sustainable to aviation and in no way affects the high safety standards of the aviation industry.
As the UK civil aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) oversees aviation safety through
performance-based regulation where it develops a comprehensive risk picture with the organisations it regulates to
build knowledge and data to make sure regulation is targeted in the areas where it will make the biggest
The CAA recognises the evolving environment inside and outside the radio frequency bands allocated to aviation and
is aware that this scarce resource must be managed in a way that remains sustainable to the aviation sector in the
long-term but also serves the wider social and economic benefits associated with radio spectrum sharing.
Where evidence illustrates the potential of spectrum sharing with an acceptably low level of risk of interference to
incumbent systems, the CAA is open to the prospect of radio spectrum sharing in a specific band.
Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, with the agreement of the CAA, has decided to allow low-power audio
Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) users access to the frequency band 960-1164 MHz, sharing with incumbent
aeronautical systems. The CAA and Ofcom worked closely throughout the coexistence analysis to ensure that sharing in
this band does not compromise the safe operation of aeronautical systems.
Based on the technical evidence generated the CAA is able to develop a picture of the risk level posed to incumbent
systems with spectrum sharing safely managed through the development of suitable processes (including a baseline safety
case) and spectrum management rules (SMRs).
The SMRs have been agreed between Ofcom and the CAA to include interference thresholds, protection criteria and a
modelling approach to minimise the risk of harmful interference to incumbent aeronautical systems in the 960-1164 MHz
The SMRs are designed to safely enable the sharing of the band with low-power audio PMSE systems. In this case rules
have been developed which are based on the results of a comprehensive testing programme, existing band sharing
exercises and the regulated minimum performance of aviation equipment with respect to resilience against adjacent band
The SMRs stipulate:
All licences issued will be time, location and frequency bound to ensure operations are conducted within the
prescribed SMRs. This will be further protected through monitoring and compliance measures.
In the case with the present PMSE campaign the CAA is content that the developed SMRs mitigate much of the risk of
PMSE operations interfering with aviation systems in the DME band to an acceptable level.
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