Feeds

Ofcom caught between picts and luvvies on 600MHz

3D TV, mobile broadband or give it to Scotland?

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Ofcom has published responses to its digital dividend consultation, but respondents seem more interested in feathering their own nests than contributing to the future of broadcasting.

This consultation only covers the lower part of the dividend, and the interleaved spectrum (white spaces), asking stakeholders what the regulator should be doing with the bands, but despite more than two years of discussion and debate, Ofcom seems to be getting no closer to deciding while stakeholders are too busy protecting their own interests to help (Ofcom's 600MHz summary.

The 550MHz to 606MHz band is already empty in most of the country, and will be entirely cleared out by the end of next year. There are also various bands that will be available in specific locations after 2012, known to Ofcom as "interleaved spectrum" and by the rest of the world as part of the "white spaces".

Ofcom reckons businesses might be interested in making use of both bands, but can't decide if they should be auctioned off together or separately. The regulator also wanted to know what kind of protection the industry thought might be appropriate for neighbouring bands, and what the spectrum might be used for.

Most of the respondents reckoned that more TV channels would fit nicely into the band, with one calling for a new Channel 6 to be launched by combining regional TV networks (which sounds familiar). Channel 4 reckons the spectrum should be reserved for TV, while Channel 5 (perhaps more aware of the commercial realities) reckons there's no demand for any more Freeview channels. The government did make noises about reserving the spectrum for local TV services, but not everyone is convinced there's much call for more terrestrial TV - surely Bid Up TV or Dave Ja Vu could make way for such a channel, if there was real call for it.

BBC Alba reckons the spectrum should be given to BBC Alba, at least in Scotland - as if the Gaels aren't getting enough of subsidy for a Gaelic-language TV station. But even more self-interested is the suggestion from Everything Everywhere that the spectrum be shelved against some future Europe-wide mobile broadband project.

Worse still, for Ofcom, the new government has only just started a review of local TV services, and might yet decide to make use of the interleaved spectrum, so no decision can be made on that until the coalition reaches some conclusions on that.

But assuming the coalition leaves the regulator alone then Ofcom will prepare an auction plan for the 600MHz frequencies next year, leaving the interleaved spectrum to some future date depending on what the government decides. That would see the 600MHz band on the auction block by the end of 2011 - but it's a big assumption to make. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.