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Concern remains over early 700MHz release in Europe

While the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has welcomed a European Commission recommendation that safeguards access to frequencies below 700MHz for digital terrestrial television through until 2030, the organisation representing Europe’s public broadcasters says it remains concerned over the early release of the frequencies.

Broadband TV News reports that the High Level Group, chaired by former European Commissioner and WTO Director General Pascal Lamy, looked at future use of the UHF spectrum band between 470 to 790MHz. It said: “the EU should adopt a common position against the co-primary allocation of the core audiovisual band (470-694MHz) to the mobile service at WRC 2015”.

Lamy’s proposal is for a“2020-2030-2025” formula – aimed squarely at meeting the Commission’s mission to roll out broadband as part of the Digital Agenda for Europe.

Presenting the report in Brussels, Pascal Lamy said: “For too long the broadband and broadcasting communities have been at loggerheads about the use of the UHF spectrum band. There have been many different views and perspectives. On the basis of discussions with the two sectors, I have put forward a single scheme that could provide a way forward for Europe to thrive in the digital century.

Simon Fell, the EBU’s Head of Technology & Innovation, said safeguarding spectrum below 700MHz will enable public service broadcasters and the European audiovisual sector to continue reaching all sectors of the population, sustain broader content choice, and secure investments and innovation over the long term.

“It is essential that broadcasters are not financially weakened by any loss of the 700MHz band. Member States must heed the report’s conclusions on compensation and transitional arrangements,” he said.