It's free!

Here’s Ofcom’s announcement about how to get a VHF licence from December 1:

Ofcom is the licensing authority for ships’ radio in the UK. Licences are currently issued by the Royal Mail Radio Licensing Centre on behalf of Ofcom.

However, from 1 December 2006 Ofcom will take over the licensing process and introduce a free online lifetime licensing service.
The new online system will reduce the administration and cost for over 68,000 martime licensees.

This new approach will make it easier for ships’ radio users to comply with legal obligations concerning installation and use of licensed radio equipment.
Ofcom has made these changes in close consultation with stakeholders.

From 1 December 2006, Ofcom will:

provide a web-based licensing service;

issue ships’ radio licences that are valid for the life of the vessel;

issue free electronic licences to online users;

replace all valid licences with new free lifetime licences;

require licensees to confirm their licence details at least once every 10 years;

dispense with the requirement to display the licence disc; however, a copy of the licence must be kept on board the vessel.

Ofcom will continue to make paper licences available for applicants who do not have access to, or prefer not to use the internet. However, those applying via a paper-based application will be subject to a £20 administration charge.

FAQs

How can I access the website?

The new system will be available through the Ofcom website at www.ofcom.org.uk on 1 December 2006.

Why is Ofcom going to charge for the postal service and not for the web-based service?

The purpose of the charge is to cover the direct costs associated with providing the postal service. There is no charge for the use of the radio spectrum. Whilst there would be some residual cost associated with the delivery of the online service, Ofcom believes that these costs would be sufficiently low that it would not be necessary to seek to recover these from licensees.

Will I be charged for making amendments to my radio licence?

No, both online and paper based amendments will be free.