IBC 2014: EBU presses need for safeguarding DTT from mobile disruption
| 12 September 2014
In a keynote speech at IBC, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has highlighted what it feels is the importance of safeguarding access to spectrum for the broadcast of free-to-air digital terrestrial television (DTT).

Taking part in a panel discussion entitled The Great Spectrum Debate, EBU director of technology and innovation, Simon Fell, reinforced how essential access to UHF spectrum is for meeting the universal obligations of public service broadcasters and delivering free-to-air television to mass audiences. The speech was in line with the recommendation in the EU High Level Group report on spectrum allocation to adopt a common position against co-primary allocation of this spectrum band at the ITU World Radio Conference in 2015.

The EBU is concerned about the release of 700MHz frequencies to other firms, particularly mobile phone operators, by 2022 as this is likely to cause disruption to TV services in a number of member states.

"To reach all sectors of the population and sustain a broad mix of content for consumers, access for broadcasters to spectrum below 700MHz (470-694 MHz) must be protected," Fell announced.

"The EBU believes this will also enable public service broadcasters and the European audiovisual sector to secure investment and enable innovation in DTT platforms over the long term. It is crucial to plan for a sensible transition for all parties. This will allow broadcasters and network operators enough time to co-ordinate frequencies, re-plan networks and adapt to the new spectrum arrangements. It is also necessary to give viewers enough time to adapt and ensure the necessary upgrade of consumer equipment and DTT networks."

Fell added that broadcasters should not be financially weakened by any loss of the 700MHz band and that all transition costs should be offset, including investments in new and even more efficient technologies and the expense of mitigating mobile interference of DTT reception.