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Volume 174: debated on Monday 18 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action he intends to take in response to the recommendations of the review committee which examined civil use of the radio spectrum from 470 to 3,400 MHz.

The report of the stage 1 civil spectrum review committee, which was published in April last year, has been widely welcomed as making a major contribution towards our commitment to make more efficient use of the radio spectrum and to provide more information regarding current use.Since receiving the report, I have had the opportunity to consider the findings in detail and assess the comments of industry and users. The report emphasises that frequency planning ought to maintain a long-term perspective and that in many areas, our freedom for action is limited by international treaty obligations. However, within these confines, the committee found that there remained considerable scope for improvements in the way in which the radio spectrum is managed in the frequency range concerned, and I am pleased to announce today that measures will be taken to follow up all the recommendations. A detailed schedule of the steps being taken to implement each of the recommendations has been published and is available from the DTI's radio communications agency.I should like to take this opportunity to announce that, in consultation with my right hon. and right hon. and learned Friends the Secretaries of State for Defence, the Home Department and Scotland, I have accepted the Committee's recommendation that the next stage of the review process should be a combined assessment of defence and civil use of the radio spectrum from 3,400 MHz to 30 GHz. I am also delighted to announce that Sir Kenneth Corfield, who chaired the first stage review of defence spectrum usage, has accepted the invitation to become chairman of the combined stage 2 review committee.The stage 1 civil spectrum and defence spectrum review reports have stimulated widespread discussion of the future requirements and options for the key frequency range of 1–3 GHz and I am confident that this new review will likewise reveal fresh challenges for the United Kingdom to ensure that we continue to lead the field in making effective and efficient use of this scarce natural resource at these higher frequencies.