EBU slams regulators selling TV frequencies

The influential European Broadcasting Union, which counts Europe’s public broadcasters as its core membership, has severely criticised those governments which have or are planning to use some or all of the 700 MHz band for cellular services.

The EBU also accuses the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG), an advisory group which assists the European Commission in the use and development of radio spectrum, of failing in its advice to the EU.  “Mandating the 700 MHz band for use by mobile services is not acceptable,” says an EBU statement. “The incremental benefits are yet to be proven and the impact on [broadcasting] incumbents and citizens has not yet been assessed.”

EBU director general Ingrid Deltenre argues that digital terrestrial television makes more effective use of spectrum than mobile broadband for continuous linear media distribution to large audiences.

The EBU says that the 800 MHz band (790-862 MHz) has already been handed over – in return for huge payments – to mobile operators and many national regulators are looking closely at the 700 MHz bands for similar financial windfalls.

The draft opinion from the RSPG proposes a single Europe-wide strategy on the use of such spectrum in the future. A decision is likely this autumn.

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