The plan could see national digital terrestrial TV, local TV and digital audio broadcasters forced to pay for the spectrum they use.
The regulator says the proposal is in line with its duty to secure optimal use of radio spectrum.
If approved all three services would start paying the fees from the end of 2014 – the charges themselves will be the subject of a later consultation. “In many cases, we set charges by establishing the ‘opportunity cost’ of the spectrum, which is the value that alternative users might be prepared to pay for the spectrum,” the regulator explained. “We refer to this as Administered Incentivised Pricing (AIP). AIP is used to encourage more efficient use of spectrum, which is a limited resource with high levels of demand in certain frequency bands.”
Ofcom expects to introduce AIP for national DTT by around 2020. For local TV and DAB, there is little or no excess demand for the spectrum and therefore Ofcom currently has no plans to implement AIP for these services.
Any introduction of AIP is likely to coincide with a shift for TV services to the 700MHz band to make way for new mobile services.