Digital Dividend Review - Update and Next Steps
Ofcom published its proposals for the award of the spectrum freed up by the digital switchover process – the so-called digital dividend – on 19 December 2006. These proposals are available on the Ofcom website at: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/ddr/.
The 13-week period of public consultation on these proposals ran until 20 March. During the consultation period, we engaged actively with a wide range of stakeholders in order to gather views on these proposals. This included organising or attending over 20 events of various kinds across the UK to discuss the proposals with interested parties.
We have now received over 600 written responses to this consultation. The non-confidential responses can be found at: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/ddr/responses/.
We are still reviewing the responses to the consultation, but already it is clear that a wide range of issues have been raised and will require detailed consideration. These include representations about:
- reserving spectrum for high-definition TV services on Freeview and/or for local TV services;
- the impact of the proposals on the programme-making and special-events (PMSE) sector, principally users of wireless microphones;
- the timing of releasing channel 36 (590-598 MHz); and
- holding spectrum back from the award for possible future innovations and/or for low-power applications.
We will consider the responses on these and all other issues very carefully over the coming weeks.
In the consultation document Ofcom stated that its objective in relation to the digital dividend was to maximise its benefits to society as a whole. We will be considering the responses, and our further analysis of the issues, in light of this objective and our relevant statutory duties.
Our consultation document set out proposals. There is still a significant amount of work to be done before the Digital Dividend Review is completed.
We will now undertake a detailed review of all of the responses to the consultation, and will evaluate – and, where appropriate, modify – our proposals accordingly. We hope to publish a statement and a second, more detailed consultation document later in the year.
In addition, and in response to the responses we have received, we aim to publish a consultation document focusing on proposals related to the PMSE sector in May.