The Irish regulatory authority ComReg has published a consultation paper entitled: “Opportunities for Trialling Wireless Services and Technologies in Ireland“. ComReg wishes to support developments in wireless technology and its applications, such as mobile communications and wireless broadband Internet.

According to ComReg, a relative lack of congestion in most frequency bands in Ireland means that frequencies can be made available to test new products. The tests may range from purely technical trials, to evaluations of user attitudes to new services.

In order to promote the development of the wireless technology sector, ComReg is proposing a number of changes to the existing test licensing regime. This includes the possibility of a new category of licence which would permit service trials that involve third party customers.

ComReg asks questions with regard to the evaluation of the current licensing regime, and also wishes to know which frequency requirements interested parties have (e.g. Question 5: Should specific frequencies or frequency bands be identified and/or actively promoted for test and development purposes, and should these include pan-European and Global harmonised bands such as GSM and UMTS? And Question 6: What additional frequencies do you think might be suitable to support testing of emerging standards such as WiMax?)

The amount of the test licence fee and the duration of test licences are also under review, as well as the possibility to broaden the scope for third party participants (such as service providers). The text of the test licences themselves is also a subject of consultation. 

ComReg puts forward that opportunities may also exist for the creation of a dedicated “development park” to take advantage of the relatively sparse demand for radio spectrum in some parts of the country, enabling trials of emerging wireless technologies with minimal risk of interference with existing services. The regulatory authority considers that this could be particularly attractive for certain types of development activity, such as the trialling of airborne transmission platforms.

The deadline for responding to this consultation is 24 Sep 2004.

The full text of ComReg Consultation Paper 04/85 can be accessed by clicking here.