DIGITAL TV GROUP SUMMIT, LONDON – Calls for spectrum to be set aside for high def transmissions from the UK’s public service broadcasters failed to move the Minister of State for Industry and the Regions, Margaret Hodge. The DTG, whose members include both broadcasters and manufacturers, lobbied hard, but the minister said she had heard similar calls from other groups that wanted spectrum once digital switchover is completed in 2012.
“We’re all thinking about it, but we’re not good at predicting what consumers want, and that is the dilemma that faces us,” she said. “As we think about the allocation of spectrum of course we think about public policy, access and inclusion.” Delegates argued that Ofcom’s current consultation was about how the auction process should take place rather than if there should be an auction in the first place. Public service broadcasters, led by the BBC and Channel 4, are seeking gifted capacity for a terrestrial HD service, arguing that a two tier system would be created if viewers were forced onto pay platforms to receive what is essentially public service content.