The two public consultations, which closed today (12 January), aimed to gather the views of stakeholders on the long term strategy for the future use of the UHF band (470 - 790 MHz) in Europe, as well as on the EU’s common policy objectives for the upcoming World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) in November this year.
These closely-related policy consultations will provide input for the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG), a high-level advisory group that assists the European Commission in the development of radio spectrum policy in the EU, to draft recommendations on the future use of the UHF band in Europe. Meanwhile, the European Commission has today launched its own public consultation on the future of the UHF band.
The EBU welcomes the RSPG recommendation to guarantee DTT access to the 470 - 694 MHz band until 2030, describing it as recognition of the importance of the DTT platform and the need to provide certainty for investments in broadcasting infrastructure.
The EBU also notes that there is a growing consensus in Europe that the 470 - 694 MHz band should continue to be used for terrestrial TV services for the foreseeable future, supported by a number of studies (see below) that carefully considered all relevant strategic elements regarding the long term use the band 470 ‑ 694 MHz.
However in its responses to the consultations, the EBU also warns against a hasty release of the 700 MHz band, which represents 30% of the total remaining spectrum for TV broadcasting in the UHF band. Notwithstanding the view that the urgency for such a release for providers of wireless broadband services remains unfounded, the EBU believes that a release by 2025 rather than 2020 or 2022 would provide the necessary time for EU Member States to fully complete a complex frequency coordination and transition process.
Any release of the 700 MHz should be very carefully planned, with clarity regarding full compensation in terms of funding and repurposing of existing licensing rights. Appropriate and sufficient spectrum for PMSE (programme making and special events equipment) should also be identified ahead of any release of the 700 MHz.
The EBU stresses that any decision on spectrum allocation should be based on an in-depth impact assessment, taking into account various political, social, cultural and economic interests, including the impact on investments in original European audiovisual content.
Find out more here.