Programme-making and special events
Statement published 31|08|10
1.1 This statement sets out our decisions on a number of key issues relating to future spectrum access for programme-making and special events (PMSE). This encompasses a broad and diverse set of stakeholders, ranging from broadcasters and major theatrical companies to churches and schools, whose use of spectrum includes wireless microphones, wireless cameras and related equipment. Together, they make a major contribution to the economic, social and cultural well-being of the UK.
1.2 These issues originally arose as a result of the Government's decision in 2003 to release a digital dividend of spectrum freed up by digital switchover (DSO). Our Digital Dividend Review considered how best to release this spectrum for new uses. The PMSE sector was an important element of our thinking as it shares spectrum with terrestrial television and has exclusive use of adjacent frequencies. We subsequently broadened our consideration to include all spectrum used for PMSE. We have consulted at length throughout this process to ensure our proposals and decisions fully take into account users' interests and concerns.
1.3 Our digital-dividend statement of December 2007 concluded it was in the best long-term interests of the PMSE sector to move to a market-based approach to spectrum. To overcome specific identified barriers to the formation of a market for PMSE spectrum access, we decided to establish a band manager that would be able to aggregate users' demand. It would have to pay a licence fee for the spectrum awarded to it but would be able to recoup this by charging users for access. The band manager would be selected by beauty contest and have specific obligations to protect the interests of the PMSE sector. Subject to meeting those obligations, it would be able to provide access to the spectrum to non-PMSE users on whatever terms it saw fit.
1.4 We consulted twice on the detailed design of the band-manager award:
- in July 2008 on the spectrum we should award, the selection criteria we should apply in the beauty contest and how we should protect PMSE users' interests; and
- in June 2009 on the licence fee the band manager would have to pay, how commitments made by the successful applicant in the course of the award would translate into licence conditions and under what circumstances we would allow non-PMSE use of the spectrum awarded.
1.5 Separately, we consulted in February 2009 on proposals to clear PMSE users from the spectrum adjacent to the digital dividend that they use exclusively for wireless microphones. We decided in June 2009 to implement these proposals as they would significantly benefit citizens and consumers by harmonising spectrum suitable for next-generation mobile-broadband services with the release plans of other European countries.
1.6 In April 2010, we published an interim statement setting out our decision to defer the band-manager award until after the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. This was in part because there were complexities in the award which remained to be resolved. But it was also because we considered there would be insufficient time before the London 2012 Games for us to develop, test and implement the necessary arrangements between us and the band manager to coordinate spectrum use in London without an unacceptable risk of disruption to the Games. While deferring changes to the institutional arrangements for managing PMSE spectrum, we indicated that we would implement proposals from our consultations that concerned the terms of PMSE spectrum access. .
1.7 This statement therefore sets out our decisions on four key issues:
- what spectrum will be available for future PMSE access. The spectrum currently available for PMSE access will remain so, with some inclusions (notably 2290-2300 MHz) and exclusions (notably 11.7-12 GHz);
- the technical licence conditions (TLCs) for use of that spectrum. These will be based on block-edge masks (BEMs), presented to reflect existing PMSE use.;
- spectrum fees based on administered incentive pricing (AIP). We confirm our proposed band-by-band AIP levels and phasing durations, which we will only review in future where there is evidence of material misalignment between the fees charged and the value of the spectrum. In the meantime, we will consider introducing an element of temporal and geographic peak pricing on those occasions where there is a known scarcity of spectrum for PMSE use (such as at some major sporting events); and
- explicit security-of-tenure provisions for PMSE spectrum use. These will last until at least September 2021 for all spectrum made available for future PMSE access and be subject to a five-year notice period we cannot activate for spectrum-management reasons without PMSE users having an expectation of some form of redress.
1.8 We are very grateful to stakeholders who have responded to our consultations and otherwise contributed to our consideration of these issues. Taken together, we believe our decisions will contribute to achieving our objectives of facilitating the participation of PMSE users in a market-based approach to spectrum while avoiding disruption that adversely affects their ability to provide a wide range of services to citizens, consumers and business customers, promoting the optimal use of spectrum in relation to all potential uses and users over time and avoiding the risks of regulatory and market failure.
1.9 We aim to consult later this year on new fees for PMSE spectrum access that take into account the AIP levels and phasing durations in this statement. In parallel we are undertaking a re-tender exercise to ensure value for money in the arrangements for licensing PMSE users up to the time when the band-manager award is reactivated after the London 2012 Games.
In this section
Programme-making and special events (547 kB)
Full Print Version - Published 31|08|10