Chapter 4 Managing the Radio Spectrum and Sustaining Technical Excellence
Administration of the Hong Kong Telecommunications Equipment Evaluation and Certification Scheme
To keep pace with international best practices, commencing 1 October 2009, the testing and certification services for telecommunications equipment, which were previously provided by the then Office of the Telecommunications Authority, were transferred to qualified local testing laboratories. Laboratories accredited by the CA as local certification bodies (“LCBs”) can offer a full range of telecommunications equipment-testing and certification services. In 2016/17, the LCBs issued 429 equipment certificates to meet the needs of the telecommunications equipment market.
To ensure that all LCBs providing telecommunications equipment-testing and certification services meet the service quality and performance standards prescribed by OFCA, we will continue to closely monitor their performance by conducting documentary checks, plant visits and reviews on a regular basis. So far, all LCBs have been performing up to the standards prescribed by OFCA.
We constantly monitor international developments in telecommunications standardisation, and update local technical standards in order to meet the needs of the industry and the public. In 2016/17, a total of six papers were issued to consult the industry on matters related to standardisation. Taking into account views of the industry, four new and one revised technical standards were approved and issued by the CA.
Frequency Assignment of In-building Co-axial Cable Distribution System Channels (“IBCCDS channels”)
In 2016/17, OFCA assisted the CA in processing applications for the use of IBCCDS channels submitted by HKCTV for conveyance of its domestic pay TV services and the domestic free TV services provided by Fantastic TV.
Frequency Band Planning for the Introduction of New Applications
To meet the demand of the industry and the public for new applications that require the use of radio spectrum, we constantly monitor overseas developments of spectrum management and progress of related technology advancement, with a view to allocating new frequency bands timely to facilitate the introduction of these applications. In 2016/17, the CA conducted public consultations on the use of the 57-66 GHz and 77-81 GHz bands for short-range radiocommunications and short-range automotive radar applications respectively. Following consultation, the CA issued two class licences in January 2017 covering the sale, possession and use of such equipment.
Spectrum Planning for the Introduction of 5G Mobile Services
Radio spectrum, a scarce public resource, is essential for the provision of public mobile services. In order to cope with the industry’s spectrum demand for the provision of public mobile services, and to better prepare Hong Kong for the timely launch of 5G services, there is a need for Hong Kong to make available additional spectrum for public mobile services towards 2020 and beyond.
In 2016/17, OFCA assisted the CA in issuing a work plan in March 2017 on, among others, making available additional spectrum in the 26 GHz band (24.25-27.5 GHz), 28 GHz band (27.5-28.35 GHz) and the 3.4-3.6 GHz band.
As part of the 26 GHz band has been used for fixed links in Hong Kong, OFCA has been working on relocation of existing frequency assignments in the 26 GHz band to other frequency bands. The 28 GHz band is not utilised other than allocation for fixed satellite uplinks and can be timely released for public mobile services.
The 3.4-3.6 GHz band, which is currently allocated and used for fixed satellite downlinks, is being considered by many economies in the world for allocation to mobile service. Having considered the potential impact brought by the use of the 3.4-3.6 GHz band for public mobile services, OFCA assisted the CA in launching a public consultation in July 2017 on using the 3.4-3.6 GHz band for public mobile services. In addition, OFCA will also commission a consultancy study on the feasible radio interference mitigating measures to enable the co-existence of satellite and mobile services within the 3.4-4.2 GHz band.
Management of Spectrum and Orbital Positions for Satellite Networks
Satellite spectrum and orbital positions are limited natural resources. It is our duty to ensure that the use of these resources by communications satellites registered in Hong Kong adheres to the international practices of the International Telecommunication Union (“ITU”). Following the launch of a new satellite APSTAR 9 in 2015, there are ten satellites in orbit operated by two Hong Kong companies licensed to provide satellite communications services.