Feeds

How to carve up the Digital Dividend?

Ofcom consults the public while the EU mulls mandates

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Ofcom has discovered that the general public would like to see more TV channels, but not on their phones, when analogue TV is switched off. Meanwhile, Brussels suggests the regulator should handing over half the spectrum released to the EU Commission.

The frequencies being released by the analogue switch-off are nicely placed for decent range and in-building penetration, and there are plenty of business plans looking to take advantage of the spectrum when it becomes available (nationwide in the UK by 2012).

But the EU is concerned that leaving it to the free market - an approach favoured by the UK regulator Ofcom - will lead to different technologies being pushed too close to each other, and thus increasing the potential for interference. What they would like to see, as set out in the Digital Dividend Communication (pdf), is a three-way split with the lower part of the spectrum reserved for broadcast TV and country-specific services, while the higher bands would be managed by the EU themselves to ensure cross-Europe applications and minimise the potential for interference.

Current analogue broadcasting stretches from around 470MHz up to 872MHz, and the EU would like to see the lower half of that available to national regulators, such as Ofcom, to allocate for Digital TV and such; while the top half is run from Brussels for high-speed bidirectional services and narrow-band broadcast services such as mobile TV.

The lack of interest in mobile TV is highlighted in Ofcom's latest research (pdf), which shows that the majority of people want more channels on freeview, and better mobile phone coverage, rather than the ability to watch Trisha on the move. Ofcom interviewed nearly 2000 people for its Digital Dividend Review, and spent a day with many of them showing the technology and explaining what it would be capable of:

"Improved mobile phone and mobile broadband services started high and steadily rose over the course of the discussions... mobile TV’s value dropped over the day in direct comparison."

The EU won't be mandating anything, or even deciding how much spectrum it wants to grab, until it's completed a series of "technical studies", and even then the proposal will have to go before the Radio Spectrum Committee where every country is represented.

With analogue TV already being switched off in parts of the UK, and auctions set to start next year, there's not a lot of time to decide how we're going to spend our digital dividend, assuming it's our decision to make. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.