Advanced Television

EBU debunks spectrum debate ‘myths’

July 18, 2014

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has made available a new fact sheet on spectrum that tackles what it says are common misperceptions about consumers’ TV and mobile usage. Recommendations about the allocation of spectrum in Europe (set to be decided in 2015) are being discussed right now, and will have repercussions for broadcast quality and the way in which over 250 million people watch TV.

The EBU says that spectrum, or radio spectrum, is an indispensable resource used for DTT, where the signal is received through the aerial. In Europe 100 million households, nearly half of all households, rely on DTT to watch television.

In recent years, the demand for radio spectrum frequency from different wireless technologies that require this limited resource has increased. These technologies include TV broadcasting, mobile services, Wi-Fi and satellite communications. As a result, regulators are faced with the challenge of allocating this finite resource and ensure that competing applications do not interfere with one another.

The EBU says the fact sheet debunks common myths being espoused by some stakeholders – namely that the public’s use of live TV is falling, and that mobile operators require more of the UHF band (470 to 862 MHz) to appease its customers.

“Contrary to these beliefs, studies have shown that live TV viewing will account for 82 per cent of all TV consumption in 2020. Plus, current estimates for mobile internet use in the future are greatly overestimated – in some cases by a factor of 100 times or more,” says the EBU.

Frequently quoted mobile figures also do not take into account the increasing preference for using Wi-Fi, and the fact that mobile operators already occupy higher frequency ranges of spectrum that could be used more efficiently.

The EBU says the fact sheet describes why the spectrum debate is an important one overall, with widespread consequences for public service media. It outlines why the public needs both mobile and TV broadcasting and how the two should work together for the future

Categories: Articles, DTT/DSO, Regulation, Standards