Digital UK backs Ofcom mobile spectrum opposition

Digital UK – the company that manages the development and strategy of DTT and supports viewers – has welcomed UK regulator Ofcom’s stated intention to oppose the idea of allowing mobile services to move into more frequencies currently used by terrestrial TV (co-primary allocation).

Ofcom has published an update on its preparations for the World Radiocommunications Conference in November (WRC-15).

Ofcom said it: “Will seek to ensure the protection of digital terrestrial television (DTT) operating in the 470 – 694 MHz band in the UK. As a result we currently anticipate opposing a co-primary mobile allocation (which would see the band allocated to both mobile and broadcasting) in the 470 – 694 MHz band. We will take this position into relevant upcoming meetings in the European preparatory process for WRC-15.”

Following consultation on the the key issues to be considered at WRC-15, Ofcom noted that the majority of responses agreed with its proposal for the UK to oppose a co-primary mobile allocation in the band. “These responses highlighted the key and important role that the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform currently plays in broadcasting delivery and emphasised the wide consumer interests,” said Ofcom.

Ofcom explained in a discussion document on the Future of Free to View Television published on 28 May 2014, that it did not currently expect full switch-off of DTT until post 2030, unless there were to be a significant policy intervention to support a more aggressive timetable for change. Added to this was its recognition that the on-going importance of DTT and barriers associated to IPTV availability and take-up could make DTT switch-off unlikely until at least 2030.

‘We welcome Ofcom’s continued support for DTT and are pleased that it plans to oppose the further expansion of mobile services into airwaves used by Freeview at WRC-15,” said Digital UK Chief Executive, Jonathan Thompson. “While we all recognise the growing demand for spectrum, Ofcom’s position highlights the importance of terrestrial television to the UK and need to protect the interests of millions of viewers,” he added.

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