The first week of the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) has given national and regional authorities the opportunity to present their positions on the future allocation of radio spectrum among broadcasting and mobile services. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is encouraged to note that the overwhelming majority of proposals support a ‘No change’ position for the UHF band 470-694/698 MHz. This band is currently allocated to terrestrial TV and the radio microphones that are essential for content production.
Despite calls from a minority of countries to re-allocate the band to mobile telecommunications services, the coordinated regional positions of European and African countries, the Arab States, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the Asia-Pacific Telecommunication Union, as well as a joint proposal from 14 South American countries are all clearly opposed to such a move.
This position is consistent with the views of the EBU and its sister organisations representing more than 630 broadcasters from all parts of the world. They argue that WRC-15 decisions should reflect the reality that more than 95 per cent of audiovisual content is delivered over broadcast networks and Wi-Fi, rather than over mobile networks.
“Contrary to what the mobile lobby would have us believe, terrestrial TV is the most popular TV platform in Europe and in many other regions of the world,” stated Simon Fell, EBU Director of Technology and Innovation. “It also continues to deliver substantial social and economic value, in particular by providing free-to-air services and facilitating innovation.”
According to Fell, it is a positive sign that most national administrations at the WRC-15 recognise this point. “We urge them to hold their ground against a small minority that is looking to impose its views on the rest of the world. Every administration has the responsibility to look after the interests of its own citizens. We encourage the national representatives at the WRC-15 to find a way of accommodating their national spectrum requirements without compromising the future of terrestrial TV. Keeping the frequency band 470-694/698 MHz for broadcasting is the key to this future,” he declared.