Freeview makes case for keeping UHF spectrum

Freeview BalloonsFreeview will this week tell Ofcom that to keep pace with what viewers want the DTT platform must have access to enough spectrum.

Its argument in the regulators consultation on the future use of the much coverted UHF band is an extension of its earlier theme of providing value to the UK consumer.

“We believe fundamentally that any decision should not come at the expense of reducing the quality of their viewing experience in any way,” Freeview managing director Ilse Howling told Broadband TV News.

Freeview, which won its licence bid 11 years ago on Thursday, faces the twin problem of maintaining its existing spectrum while finding room for new HD services.

“We’re not saying that free TV should exist above and beyond every provider, but DTT has got it’s house in order in terms of spectrum use and other users should be expected to do the same,” said Howling.

Next year could see the launch of 10 new HD services on Freeview in a project run by the BBC, Channel 4 and Arqiva. While the BBC reviews how it uses spectrum generally, Ofcom has a consultation on spectrum pricing.

Part of Freeview’s case to Ofcom is a recent survey conducted for the organisation by YouGov. It gives Freeview near national treasure status among Freeview viewers, who placed the DTT platform second only to the National Health Service when asked how they valued a number of UK organisations.

Among viewers it is not just the channels from the public service broadcasters that are appreciated by the public, but many of the 50 or so TV channels that comprise the platform as a whole.