Ofcom sets out plans to secure UK DTT in mobile world
| 29 May 2014
With 4G networks expanding rapidly in the UK, broadcast and communications regulator Ofcom has set out plans to protect DTT services which use much-valued wireless spectrum.

Ofcom says that it is tasked with having to strike a balance between offering viewers the ability to continue to have the free-to-view TV services they value without another switchover while allowing consumers and businesses to get faster and cheaper Internet on the move. It sees its challenge as having to carefully manage the limited supply of spectrum and ensure that all users have access to the appropriate amount.

In The Future of Free to View TV paper, Ofcom considers how current free-to-view DTT platforms might need to develop in the future in order to remain competitive and relevant to viewers, as television platforms increasingly deliver both connected services such as catch-up TV and higher quality pictures such as HDTV services. It considers the potential long-term options for delivering free-to-view television, including over broadband networks.

The regulator stresses that its document is not offering a precursor to any specific regulatory decisions, but merely providing context to its decision-making process around a potential change in use of the 700MHz band of spectrum and also to its engagement in international debates around the future of 470-694MHz spectrum. It is also part of a desire to contribute to the wider public debate around the future of free-to-view television in the UK.

"Ofcom's role is to ensure the UK makes the best and most efficient use of its airwaves, which is vital to enable UK's digital economy to meet consumers' needs," said Ofcom chief executive, Ed Richards. "Our plans will allow digital terrestrial TV to thrive, while ensuring the UK's mobile infrastructure can support consumer demand and economic growth. We also recognise the important role the programme making and special events (PMSE) sector plays in the cultural life of the nation."

Ofcom's plans for the future of free to view TV in the UK are available at http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/con...ons/700MHz/ftv.