JRC Publications

This is a list of the latest JRC Public Documents.

A Smart Flexible Energy System. A Call for Evidence. JRC Response.

The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), and the Office of Communications (Ofcom) have differing interpretations of policies and responsibilities with regards to businesses, citizens, and consumers. Under the Communications Act, Ofcom interprets the obligation to serve the interests of 'consumer / citizens' as according higher priority to direct consumer-facing services - mobile data and broadcasting - than communications directly related to delivering cost effective and reliable essential services for the consumer / citizen.

Ofcom Annual Plan 2016-17

Ofcom's main legal duties are to ensure that:
- the UK has a wide range of electronic communications services:
JRC highlights that the wide range of electronic communications services, indeed almost all products and services, that are offered to the UK’s citizens and consumers relies directly or indirectly on the stable provision of electricity and / or gas (gas is used to generate typically 50%[1] of the UK’s electricity) by the UK’s Critical Infrastructure Utility Operations.
The stable supply of electricity relies increasingly on the systems that control the electricity grid. This includes resilient private wireless systems such as the 9.6 kbit/s in 12.5 kHz true[2] narrow band channels used for the UK-wide supervision and data control systems (SCADA).

JRC Response to DCMS Review of Electronic Communications Regulatory Framework

JRC supports ‘deployment of communication networks that meet the needs of users over the next decade enabling competitiveness and economic growth and delivering social benefits. The effectiveness of networks needs to be judged by the quality of experience enjoyed, or suffered, by the user, be they an individual consumer or [a] business’.

JRC's response to Ofcom's Fixed Wireless Spectrum Strategy

Almost all products and services offered to citizens and consumers rely on the reliable supply of electricity and / or gas. In turn, these critical infrastructure utilities rely on the reliable supply of suitable 400 MHz, 1.4 GHz, and other fixed links spectrum to control their grid systems. The move to Smart Grids will require additional suitable spectrum access. In the UK, 12.5 / 25 kHz narrow band channels will continue to be required in the 400 MHz band. Higher data rate systems may require private broadband radio (PBR) channels, e.g. 1.25 MHz bandwidth. Higher frequency fixed wireless spectrum will continue to be required for backhaul links, etc. Critical infrastructure utilities prefer to avoid spectrum above 14 GHz because it is affected by rain, especially during storms when the electricity networks may be under extreme stress.

JRC response to Ofcom More Radio Spectrum for the Internet of Things

There appears to be demand for Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications, especially in rural areas and hard to reach locations, that require connectivity over longer distances. This Ofcom document aims to encourage investment and innovation in the Internet of Things (IoT) using 10.1 MHz of spectrum within the 55-68 MHz, 70.5-71.5 MHz and 80.0-81.5 MHz bands by using our existing licence products. At the same time, Ofcom seeks views on whether any changes to its existing licence products are necessary to promote innovative uses in these bands, especially for serving rural and remote locations.
JRC highlights that the utilities have been operating Resilient Machine to Machine (RM2M) systems for over 50 years. JRC highlights that, whilst access to more spectrum in bands below 1GHz is needed by the power utilities if they are to fulfil their regulatory obligations to maintain secure and sustainable supplies of electricity and gas, and to restore supplies in a timely manner when those supplies are interrupted for any reason, the proposed Band I and VHF Low Band spectrum may not be suitable.

JRC response to Ofcom Strategic Review of Digital Communications. Discussion document

The aim of the review is to make sure digital communications markets continue to work for consumers, citizens and businesses. It considers future policy challenges across fixed, mobile and content sectors. This Ofcom document is consulting stakeholders to hear from everyone involved in digital communications services, including consumers, businesses, communications providers and public bodies, from across the UK’s nations and regions. We are also interested in the views of policy makers and legislators who set the statutory framework that we operate in.
JRC notes that Ofcom’s ‘key goal of our strategy is to make sure that the UK’s citizens and businesses are served by high-quality, widely available telecoms, both fixed and mobile. JRC highlights that the stable supply of electricity is an essential resource for the delivery of almost all goods and / or services to UK citizens and consumers, e.g. high-quality, widely available telecoms, both fixed and mobile.

JRC response to the Ofcom framework for spectrum sharing

Demand for spectrum is growing significantly and will continue to do so. Spectrum sharing will become increasingly important to serve that demand. This Ofcom document proposes a new framework for our thinking about spectrum sharing, which will offer a model for systematically considering whether frequencies have the potential to be shared. Ofcom expects to use this framework when defining new spectrum authorisation and when seeking to identify spectrum to meet new demands.
JRC notes Ofcom's objective to ensure the appropriate spectrum is available to meet demand from both new and existing uses and minimise the scope for spectrum to remain underutilised. It is therefore hoped that Ofcom will recognise the importance of the UK-wide supply of electricity and facilitate the availability of spectrum for new and existing Utility Operations systems. JRC notes that Ofcom could 'include information on actual use (rather than authorisations)' and is therefore very concerned that Ofcom may publish information that could jeopardise the safety and security of the UK's critical national infrastructure (CNI), and seeks assurance from Ofcom that this will not be published.

JRC Response to the Call for Input on the Ofcom Strategic review of satellite and space science use of spectrum

This Call for Input asks for stakeholders’ input to Ofcom’s strategic review of spectrum used by the satellite and space science sectors. The review aims to look forward over the medium and long term, up to around 20 years out. This timeframe reflects the long planning times and lifecycles for satellite and space science investments, and the long lead-time for any potential regulatory changes that require international agreement.
JRC highlights that the importance of a satellite system is not necessarily proportional to the amount of data that it communicates. For example, the whole of the UK’s gas and transmission network requires less than a kilobit per second of data back-hauled primarily by satellite to monitor and control the entire high and medium pressure network. JRC highlights that satellite communications are playing an increasingly important role in utility operations to complement terrestrial communications in remote areas where terrestrial communications are disproportionately expensive and to enhance telecommunications resilience for the benefit of all UK citizens and specifically electricity and gas consumers. JRC notes that Ofcom is 'seeking to make more and better information available to stakeholders on spectrum use.' JRC is concerned that Ofcom does not publish information that could jeopardise the security of the UK's critical national infrastructure (CNI), and seeks assurance from Ofcom that this data will be protected.

JRC response to Ofcom Business Connectivity Market Review. Review of competition in the provision of leased lines

Ofcom’s Business Connectivity Market Review examines the markets for the provision of leased lines to businesses in the UK. Leased lines are high-quality, dedicated, point-to-point data transmission services used by businesses and providers of communications services. As well as being essential components of many businesses communications systems, they are also essential to support the provision of mobile telephone and fixed residential broadband services. Every three years, Ofcom conducts a review of competition in the markets for the provision of leased lines in the UK.
JRC advises that some licensed utility operators responsible for managing critical national infrastructure are limited to only migrating to the Ethernet systems if they continue to require services supplied by BT. There is some concern regarding the power resilience of these services from end to end. JRC advises that electricity and gas distribution and transmission operators responsible for managing critical national infrastructure have plans to migrate in a timely manner to self-managed resilient radio-based or other systems. It is important that these CNI sectors are not exposed by early termination of VLB services, or as regulated industries themselves, are not subject to significant price increases for this service.

JRC Response to the Ofcom consultation on the Business Connectivity Market Review. Very low bandwidth leased lines.

This document concerns Ofcom’s proposal for retail very low bandwidth (VLB) leased lines in the UK. These services provide dedicated, symmetric, data connections with either analogue or digital interfaces operating at bandwidths lower than 2Mbit/s. Ofcom seeks stakeholders’ comments on its proposals that with effect from 1 April 2016 it should remove all current regulations from BT’s retail provision of VLB leased lines and also modify similar regulations which currently apply to KCOM. Several operators of public services, such as water and energy utilities, still use some legacy data services which provide dedicated analogue and very low bandwidth (lower than 2Mbit/s) connections for critical applications, i.e. monitoring, protection and control of electricity and gas networks, and are still likely to be using them during the next BCMR period.
JRC advises that some licensed utility operators responsible for managing critical national infrastructure are limited to only migrating to the Ethernet systems supplied by BT. There is some concern regarding their use for resilient machine to machine (RM2M) systems.