Feeds

Ofcom asks Arqiva to stick price on 600MHz spectrum

Six new HD Freeview channels up for grabs

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Arqiva, holders of a virtual monopoly on UK broadcast infrastructure, has been asked to provide indicative pricing in case anyone fancies launching some TV channels at 600MHz.

In an updated statement (pdf, short and to the point) Ofcom postpones any auction until the end of 2012, but the regulator has asked Arqiva to work out what it would charge someone to broadcast TV in the space, so potential media companies can see what it would cost.

The band isn't very valuable for anything else, as there's no international harmonisation, and thus no economies of scale. So building an LTE network or similar would be expensive. It's 56MHz wide (starting at 550MHz) so it would fit six new HD TV channels that could be received using existing Freeview boxes, if anyone wanted to broadcast them.

Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) runs in a contracted band, compared to analogue TV which is steadily being switched off, so that leaves gaps at the top and bottom. The top (800MHz) will get auctioned off next year (schedule permitting), but the bottom part remains unloved and largely unwanted.

The band could be thrown open to unlicensed use, like the slots at 433 and 868MHz which already exist for short range devices such as remote car keys, or UWB kit could be pushed into there. But again the lack of international standards would make such applications expensive.

So Ofcom wants to auction it off, on the well-established premise that he who's prepared to pay most will make greatest use of it. But the regulator can't do that until the upper part of the Digital Dividend is mapped out (if not auctioned off) and the potential value of the 600MHz band is well understood.

The latter means working out how much it would cost to broadcast a national TV multiplex, and as Arqiva is the only company which could do such a thing it's the one being asked to put together the figures, which will then be shared with potential bidders so they can decide how much the bandwidth is worth, and what they might want to do with it. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE & Vodafone will let you BONK on the TUBE – with Boris' blessing
Transport for London: You can pay, but don't touch
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.