Ofcom sets 2019 for next digital TV/mobile broadband spectrum reshuffle

Digital terrestrial TV frequencies could be reshuffled as early as 2019 under Ofcom’s latest plan to accommodate rising demand for mobile broadband.

DTT will be moved out of the 700MHz band into the mostly-unoccupied 600MHz band by the start of 2022, but the move could begin as early as 2019 if British TV viewers are ready.

Communications regulator Ofcom claims that the move will deliver at least £900m in benefits to the economy, and will cost up to £660m to modify TV transmitters, replace aerials and compensate other users of the spectrum.

Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, said: “This is a crucial next step in the development of the UK's communications infrastructure. This decision ensures that we are making the raw materials available with which investors and companies can build the services which will support the digital economy of the future.

“More spectrum will be available for mobile broadband where demand is especially high, but the UK will retain a competitive terrestrial television platform as well.”

Ofcom has already begun planning the frequency reshuffle with DTT providers, PMSE stakeholders, government, representatives of TV viewers and technical bodies including the DTG.

The proposed schedule could begin moving users to new frequencies from 2019 onwards, with DTT moved out of the 700MHz band by the end of 2021.

Graham Plumb, Ofcom’s DTT Policy Manager, will speak tomorrow at the DTG’s one-day technical conference, Exploding Demand for Mobile Data: efficient spectrum use for smart cities. A small number of seats are still available at this free, open event.

DTG Staff  |  19.11.2014

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