Friday, 7 July 2006

New Licence Fees

Ofcom is proposing to revise the licence fees for various licence classes. The consultation can be found here, and the proposals affecting PMSE licences are contained in Section 5.
Following the general principles established in last year's fee changes, Ofcom is continuing to encourage better spectrum efficiency by increasing fees more for long-term exclusive use of frequencies and less for short-term assignments, particularly those made through JFMG's new on-line booking system.
The document also notes that Ofcom has still not yet decided how PMSE spectrum will be managed in the longer term, after the end of JFMG's contract which is now stated to be "within the next two years".

Saturday, 1 July 2006

Digital Switchover

Ofcom has announced the results of the recent Regional Radiocommunication Conference (RRC-06)in Geneva, at which the international coordination arrangements for future developments in broadcasting were agreed. The news release can be seen here.
Ofcom's plans to close analogue TV broadcasting between 2008-2012, and to release a number of existing UHF TV channels for other purposes as a 'digital dividend' can now proceed. This is of crucial importance to PMSE users who currently have licensed access to all of the UHF TV channels. An outline of these plans is given in a presentation which can be found here.
As will be seen from these slides, there are many new services lining up to occupy both the 'digital dividend' channels given up by existing broadcasting services, and the geographical gaps between TV coverage areas which are so valuable for radio microphones and similar facilities. Unless the interests of the PMSE community are properly taken into account when these new services are considered, it is likely that substantial losses of spectrum and therefore of programme-making facilities will occur.
Ofcom currently has a consultancy project looking into the various options for use of the broadcasting bands, and this will lead into a major public consultation to which BEIRG will contribute.