Advanced Television

Ofcom consults on 700 MHz clearance

March 31, 2016

In November 2014, UK comms regulator Ofcom decided that the 700 MHz spectrum band – which currently houses digital terrestrial television (DTT) and wireless microphones used for programme making and special events (PMSE) – would be repurposed for mobile data services.

Ofcom intends to avoid undue disruption to DTT viewers and to safeguard the benefits provided by PMSE. The Government will take decisions on public funding for viewer support and PMSE equipment changes.

According to Ofcom, the vast majority of DTT viewers will only need to retune their digital television or set-top box during clearance. Less than 1 per cent of viewers may also need aerial work, while some PMSE users will need to replace their equipment.

With this in mind, Government is currently considering:

  • what support viewers might require, and whether any public funding should be made available; and
  • whether support might be made available to PMSE users that need to replace their equipment as a result of the clearance programme; and, if so, what would be an appropriate level.

In order to inform these decisions, the Government has asked Ofcom for advice on the impact clearance would have on DTT viewers and PMSE users, and the measures and associated costs to mitigate these effects. Today’s document invites initial evidence to feed into this advice.

Ofcom is also inviting PMSE stakeholders that are likely to be affected to fill in a separate, confidential financial questionnaire.

The closing date for responses is May 13th.


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