Digital UK slams reuse of TV spectrum for mobile broadband


The repurposing of digital terrestrial TV (DTT) spectrum bands to deliver mobile internet services has been criticised in a report by broadcasting consultancy Digital UK.

The not-for-profit organisation was set up to assist people with the conversion to digital TV and counts the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Arqiva as members.

A report, commissioned by the group, states Freeview and other terrestrial TV services contribute nearly 80 billion to the economy. It also rubbishes the view that mobile broadband delivers more in the way of value than television services.

For example, the report suggests digital terrestrial television delivers more value per unit of spectrum than mobile broadband.

It also makes the point that, with TV spectrum being a finite resource, action must be taken to ensure that freeing it up for other purposes will not have a detrimental impact on consumers in the long run.

"Digital UK and its members are urging Government to ensure any further transfers of airwaves do not weaken Freeview and other terrestrial TV services, and that viewers should not suffer disruption or foot the bill for making the changes," Digital UK said in a statement.

The report comes at a time when pressure on spectrum resources is growing, thanks to the increasing demand for 4G services and mobile broadband.

Over the past year, this has resulted in mobile regulator Ofcom embarking on projects that will repurpose radio spectrum resources to deliver 4G. It then went on to set out plans to rearrange the bands used for digital terrestrial TV to free up resources for mobile broadband use.

Jonathan Thompson, chief executive of Digital UK, added: "This report sheds new light on the value of DTT for viewers, the UK television sector and wider economy.

"With increasing demand for spectrum, it is critical that DTT remains a strong proposition with the same coverage and range of channel viewers enjoy today."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.