Award of the 600 MHz spectrum band
1.1 This statement sets out our decision to proceed with an award of the 600 MHz spectrum band (550 to 606 MHz) to Arqiva on an interim basis. We will do so by granting a single licence for the establishment of temporary Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) multiplexes using DVB-T2/MPEG4 technology. The licence will run until 2026, but with a minimum duration to 31 December 2018, subject to revocation on 24 months' notice.
1.2 Our Consultation on the award (the Consultation) was published on 6 February 2013 and closed on 4 April 2013. Most of the responses were generally supportive of our proposals for the award, but some made comments about particular aspects of the proposed licence. After detailed consideration of the responses, and for the reasons set out in this document, we have decided to proceed with our main proposals to award a single licence for interim DTT multiplexes. We have also decided to adopt the service conditions we proposed in the Consultation.
1.3 One point of substantive challenge was that the proposed interim DTT licence might limit our ability to initiate any clearance of the 700MHz band - for mobile broadband - if such a clearance was to begin before the end of the proposed minimum licence term to the end of 2018. We have considered this argument carefully and decided, for the reasons set out in this statement, that the most proportionate way to address this issue is to add a clause in the licence that will allow us to vary or substitute the frequencies awarded in the 600 MHz band, as necessary, ahead of the end of 2018 in order to facilitate any transition of DTT from the 700 MHz spectrum.
1.4 The Consultation included an invitation to stakeholders interested in acquiring the spectrum to submit a Notification of Intention to Apply (NoITA). We said we would proceed to award the spectrum if we received only one NoITA, provided it was compliant with the proposed licence terms. We said we would hold an auction for the spectrum if we received more than one compliant NoITA.
1.5 In the event, Arqiva was the only respondent to submit a NoITA. We have considered this NoITA and decided that it is compliant with the terms of the licence. Accordingly, we are now proceeding with an award of the licence to Arqiva - subject to the company's formal acceptance of the revised terms as set out in an Annex to this document.