The EBU wants to secure the availability of sufficient radio spectrum for terrestrial broadcasting.
Responding to the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) call for input from stakeholders, the association of European public broadcasters said that spectrum is essential to the delivery of broadcasting services and yhst the UHF band is the only band available for widespread development of digital terrestrial television services.
As the high level advisory group on radio spectrum policy matters, the RSPG has been tasked with preparing an opinion on growing spectrum demand for wireless broadband for the European Commission (EC), based on the input of stakeholders.
The EBU said that the 800 MHz band (i.e. 790-862 MHz) has already been lost to mobile broadband services in Europe and some regulators are considering whether to further reduce the amount of spectrum used for broadcasting in order to accommodate additional mobile broadband communications.
In its initial draft opinion, the RSPG identifies a number of candidate bands to meet spectrum demands for wireless broadband, including the 700 MHz band (i.e. 694/698-790 MHz). It also proposes specific recommendations to the EC, such as the development of an EU-wide strategy on the future use of the 700 MHz and a long-term strategic policy on the future use of the UHF band.
The EBU response stresses the importance of the DTT platform and argues that the RSPG has not provided the evidence to suggest that additional spectrum is needed to meet future demand for wireless data traffic.
“Mandating the 700 MHz band for use by mobile services is not acceptable. The incremental benefits are yet to be proven and the impact on incumbents and citizens has not been assessed,” EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre said in a statement.
“Digital Terrestrial Television makes more efficient use of spectrum than mobile broadband for continuous linear media distribution to large audiences.”
Concrete provisions on spectrum are expected to be included in proposals for a single market for telecommunications which the Commission will submit to EU leaders ahead of the European Council meeting in October. This follows the mid-March European Council, where EU leaders earmarked preparatory work on a single market for Information & Communication Technology (ICT) as a priority.
In parallel, Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes also plans to set up a High-Level group from mobile and broadcasting industries to further discuss radio spectrum from a political and technical perspective. The EBU welcomes these plans and hopes that it will lead to a long-term roadmap for the 700 MHz band and the future of DTT.