The Met Office has warned that Ofcom’s planned deregulation of radio spectrum for Home Area Networking kit risks disrupting radar-based weather forecasts.
The airwave regulator’s recent public consultation into opening up new spectrum garnered overwhelming industry support for releasing the proposed bandwidths into the public domain, so ‘leccy companies can use them to manage our consumption.
Ofcom proposes handing 870-876MHz and 915-921MHz into unlicensed use, an idea overwhelmingly supported by all the companies planning to sell smart meters and RFID kit using those bands to enable remote control/monitoring of our appliances by power utilities.
Even the mobile network operators, who run the viable competition, are cautiously welcoming the proposals, perhaps aware they’ll not prevent their release.
This leaves only the 100-per-cent-reliable Meteorological Office to raise a flag, pointing out that blanketing the UK in smart meters will make it impossible to see incoming rainfall.
The Met uses Doppler radar between 915 and 917MHz to “see” rain clouds, based on differing reflections which would be very susceptible to interference from the mesh networks of smart meters the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) expects to see blanketing the country by 2019.
That band properly belongs to the Ministry of Defence, as does 870-872MHz, but the MoD has indicated it’s happy to hand them over – so the Met is girding its loins for a fight…