Cambridge,UK Delegates at this week's Wireless Broadband Forum, held here, rounded on speakers from the UK's Radiocommunications Agency (RA) over the handling of the consultation process and licensing arrangements for use of the 3.5GHz spectrum for broadband fixed wireless access.
Nicola Godman, a senior executive at Cambridge Broadband, said "the licensing has been 'imminent' for over two years now, and all we have seen is prevarication and delay. In the meantime, potential UK equipment manufacturers have gone out of business, and the industry still has no idea of what the government's intentions are."
Hazel Canter, director of spectrum policy at the RA, outlined the agency's strategy for the various frequency bands that can be used for BFWA, but could only say "the fate of the 3.5GHz band is still under review because of cross government department issues. We hope to offer some explanation before the end of the year."
Canter said the RA appreciates "that there is much frustration out there [about the delays and the way the issue has been handled]. I am frustrated too, and what I have to say today is probably not enough or soon enough. But the feedback from the consultation process has been that while we may have got the competitiveness issue right, the question of extensivess has still to be resolved".
She suggested there is still a debate about whether the licenses should be offered on a national or local level.
Another delegate at the Forum said the continuing delays and the way the Agency "clammed up after the consultation process had been completed has created enormous lack of trust between government and both the equipment manufacturers and potential license bidders for operating fixed wireless access in the 3.5GHz band."
Others also blamed the Agency for the collapse of good businesses and potential export orders because of the delays in awarding licenses. Companies that have either had to reign back on development and make huge redundancies, or have ceased trading, include PipingHot Networks and Adaptive Broadband.