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Following the vote in the European Parliament’s Industry Committee on the draft EU UHF Spectrum Decision, the EBU has welcomed proposals which aim at strengthening legal certainty for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) until 2030 in the sub-700 MHz Band.
The EBU also considers that offering Member States an additional two years to smooth the transition from broadcasting to mobile broadband in the 700 MHz Band is a positive step forward.
EBU Deputy Head of European Affairs Wouter Gekiere said: “We welcome the Committee’s move to better take into account the needs of broadcasting and its request to ensure legal certainty for DTT services in the sub-700 MHz frequencies until 2030. This is crucial for broadcasters, their audiences and the European cultural and creative industries.”
“There is however still scope to improve the draft during the EU interinstitutional negotiations and ensure that this request for long-term legal certainty is reflected consistently across the legislation. EU legislation should fully reflect the decision of the 2015 ITU World Radio Conference to retain the bands below 700 MHz for broadcasting use,” he added.
TV broadcasters have already left the 800 MHz UHF Band for mobile use and are preparing to clear 700 MHz UHF Band by 2022. The sub 700-MHz UHF frequencies (470-694 MHz) will be the only frequencies available for DTT.
Once broadcasters move out of the 700 MHz Band – in line with the decision adopted by the International Telecommunication Union in November 2016 – mobile broadband in the EU will have 1260 MHz of spectrum at its disposal, which is already more than anywhere else in the world and exceeds the EU’s target of 1200 MHz.
Broadcasters also share UHF spectrum frequencies with wireless audio microphones, which are widely used in cultural and media events. Uncertainty regarding future access to UHF frequencies puts this successful spectrum sharing model at risk, says the EBU.
DTT remains the most popular way of watching TV in Europe, reaching over half of Europe’s population. It ensures universal and free-to-air access to public service TV programmes for viewers. Its popularity and broad outreach directly sustain investment in original European content, and its efficiency and reliability are indispensable for the distribution of TV content to Europe’s audiences, in particular when live events are being watched by millions of people at the same time.