The EBU seminar on spectrum policy ‘Why broadcasters need to take a position’ was organised on the 3rd June 2008 in Geneva. 11 EBU Members (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and UK) were represented. One commercial broadcaster from Germany and the DigiTAG Office were also represented.
The seminar highlighted the limitations of pure market-based mechanisms to manage the spectrum and in particular when applying objectives of universal service and the objectives of general interest as media pluralism and cultural diversity. The principles of technology and service neutrality were discussed. Although those principles can give additional flexibility to the use of the spectrum their major limitation is interference. Interference can only be controlled by careful frequency management and network planning.
Broadcasters need to develop a DTT platform which is competitive with other platforms and which offers universal and also regional coverages of attractive free-to-air services. They also need to ensure that HDTV services are part of the offer. Allocation of spectrum should take account of current broadcaster’s needs and also of additional flexibility to evolving broadcasting technical developments and the transition towards them.
Darko Ratkaj (EBU TD)
Join the discussions!
It is essential that broadcasters take part of the discussions with Governments towards their national decisions. Broadcasters should clearly define their service needs (including future developments). Broadcasters should also analyse the impact on their services of releasing spectrum for other users. They should study both the different technical solutions to recover the coverages lost and the economical impact. The cost analysis should include direct costs (such as modification to existing transmitters, adding new transmitters, etc.) and indirect costs (such as installation costs incurred by consumers, including receiving antenna modifications, publicity campaigns and other cost to manage the switchover process; delay in the digital switchover process, and new process of coordination with neighbouring countries). Governments should understand that a new transition period will be needed to replan (if possible) and to recap investments in networks.