With the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 opening in Dubai today, the EBU's Walid Sami expressed optimism that crucial UHF spectrum used by broadcasters for both content production and distribution would be preserved for these purposes. In an interview published by the ITU, he stressed the importance of WRC-23 for the world's broadcasters, and particularly for public service media.
"We are confident that we will succeed to protect this spectrum for the public good. This is the only remaining spectrum for broadcasting and for the cultural industry," he said, referring to the usage of the UHF band 470–694 MHz for digital terrestrial television broadcasting and PMSE (programme making and special events) applications, like wireless microphones.
Mr. Sami is one of several representatives from the EBU and its Members who will be present in Dubai for WRC-23, ensuring the position of public service media is taken into account in the complex negotiations. As he explained in the ITU interview, all decisions at a WRC must be based on consensus, which can be extremely difficult when there are opposing positions.
The EBU has been preparing for WRC-23 ever since the previous such gathering, in 2019 in Sharm el-Sheikh, developing a coordinated approach across the membership, conducting influential studies and assessing the positions of other stakeholders. A white paper, No change at WRC-23 maximizes public value and innovation in the UHF band, sets out the EBU's position that no change to the spectrum allocation in the 470–694 MHz band should be made under Agenda Item 1.5.
Those attending WRC-23 are encouraged to visit the exhibition area where a booth jointly hosted by the EBU and BNE (Broadcast Networks Europe) highlights innovation in the area of content distribution, which requires regulatory stability to develop and evolve.