Broadcasters' spectrum needs for audio PMSE applications

Tech Report 075

Broadcasters rely on interpersonal radio communications when making programmes of any sort. The term used to describe such communications is PMSE applications.

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In reality, PMSE (programme making and special event) applications are at the start of the media value chain and underpin not only broadcasting but also online platforms. Therefore, the importance of PMSE extends far beyond broadcasting sector to include online media, wider creative and content production sectors, political, sports, and cultural live events, trade shows, conferences, educational, religious and community events. These activities generate a substantial public value and represent a significant part of the economy.

The most important frequency range employed for audio PMSE is the band 470-694 MHz. It is available across Europe and beyond, its physical properties are suitable for PMSE applications, it provides substantial capacity, it has well established sharing conditions with regard to DTT, and it is well supported by equipment manufacturers. As a result, this band is extensively used by EBU Members and other PMSE users with tens of thousands of professional equipment units in use in most countries.
Other frequency bands available for audio PMSE applications are less important due to various, technical, operational, or regulatory constraints, including limited capacity or availability, less suitable physical properties or lack of industry support and equipment.

The demand for PMSE use at large events frequently outstrips the availability of spectrum, to the detriment of performers, event organizers and broadcasters. In some cases it may not be possible to stage large events as originally intended.

This report discusses the wide range of issues inherent in PSME use and discusses ways in which broadcasters might take measures to mitigate the problems arising, giving practical, real-world examples.

It concludes that the PMSE sector has no alternatives but to continue to rely on access to the frequency band 470-694 MHz. Therefore, no regulatory change shall be introduced in this band.

A companion Technical Report, TR076,  is a Members only report that provides a brief analysis of the information that was gathered during interviews with some EBU Members, including the information about their current and possible future uses of different spectrum bands available for PMSE.


Key words: PMSE, Spectrum, Radio microphone, In-ear monitor 470-694 MHz band.