Viviane Reding, the European Union media commissioner, is to press ahead with controversial plans to open up broadcasting bands to the telecoms sector, despite fierce opposition from the European Broadcasting Union.
Ms Reding’s plans, part of a €300bn overhaul of the electronic communications sector, would use the UHF band freed under the digital dividend to offer Wi-Fi and mobile telecoms services.
The EBU believes that opening up broadcasting bands to telecoms could create significant interference problems. “Interference is not a trivial problem. Viewers and listeners who have invested in digital equipment must be guaranteed stable reception and high-quality sound and video”, said an EBU statement. “Interference from mobile phones could cause sudden and complete loss of picture and/or sound.”
Swedish communications minister Åsa Torstensson has recently shifted her position on keeping the country’s digital dividend for the broadcasters and at a Stockholm conference last week suggested part of the capacity could go to the telcos. The UK’s Ofcom has long held that broadcasters will be restricted to a maximum of six multiplexes with capacity for HD coming from the broadcasters’ existing allocation.