BBC warns of spectrum loss threat

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Andy Quested, Lead, BBC Production Standards, has warned that any further reduction of the spectrum available for terrestrial broadcasting could seriously hinder the ability of broadcasters such as the BBC to deliver programmes in higher broadcast quality standards in the future.

Speaking at the SES Ultra HD Conference in London, Quested noted that countries such as France had technological roadmaps that foresaw a transition to terrestrial broadcasting standards that would allow HD and Ultra HD transmissions, but expressed concern that upcoming international World Radiocommunication Conferences in 2019 and 2023 which revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and the geostationary-satellite and non-geostationary-satellite orbits, may see governments question why broadcasters have any of this spectrum.

“Organisations such as the EBU are looking very hard at terrestrial spectrum” he advised. “It’ll affect satellite spectrum; the US mobile community sees this  spectrum as very valuable. We have to live in this world and we have to make sure we’re not compromising our audiences. We have lost 700 megahertz; that has meant we’ve had to squeeze a lot more. We’ve got very good at doing that. I’m not sure how much more we can squeeze,” he admitted.

“Over the next five to six years, it’s going to be a long discussion about the future of broadcast television. As [BBC director general] Tony Hall says, it’s no longer Sky and ITV who are our main competitors, its Netflix and over-the top organisations. We’re looking at how we can compete  with those, but still maintain the brand values of the BBC,” he concluded.


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