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The show must go on – vote to protect culture and media

04 May 2023
The show must go on – vote to protect culture and media banner

On 4 May 2023, more than 100 cultural and media organizations as well as artists in 22 countries called on decision makers, governments and regulators to protect production and distribution via the lower UHF spectrum band (470 and 694 Megahertz).

At the World Radiocommunication Conference in the autumn of 2023, there is a risk of transferring this frequency band to mobile broadband services. This so-called “co-primary”  allocation (or even a secondary allocation) will result in a de facto exclusion of the media and the cultural sector from the airwaves.

Sabine Verheyen, MEP and Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education said: “As an EU citizen, it is so important that I can have access to a wide variety of audiovisual programmes everywhere. Maintaining the lower UHF band for media and culture allows for the broadest, fairest access to quality programmes."

Today, the Commission has adopted its proposal for a Council Decision establishing the EU’s position on issues related to spectrum for the WRC 2023. We urge negotiators to vote to preserve the current good use of the lower UHF spectrum.

For media distribution:

  • Terrestrial television (DTT) in the UHF spectrum is simple, inclusive and cheap: plugging in a TV set offers instant access to a plethora of public and private programmes.
  • DTT in the UHF spectrum is reliable in all situations: even in natural or man-made catastrophes, broadcasting distribution is very robust.
  • DTT in the UHF spectrum is a sustainable distribution method – and the most sustainable when it comes to distributing the same content to all.
  • DTT is innovative: it requires constant innovation and development of new digital technologies like e.g., 5G Broadcast.

For media and film production, cultural performances and other live events:

  • The frequencies are needed for wireless means of production.
  • They are important for: theatre, musicals, live events, festivals, conferences, radio and television reporting and media production.
  • Technical equipment is used for a long period of time and often passed on from professional to non-professional organizations and in this way applying the concept of circular economy.

The mobile service sector already benefits from substantial UHF spectrum resources, i.e., the 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands. These allocations of spectrum, previously used by DTT and PMSE (Programme Making and Special Events), were justified by the need to develop rural broadband, but the current rural deficiencies can only be resolved by further developing infrastructure – and this can be done with spectrum already allocated to mobile broadband.

Every day, millions of people in Europe benefit from terrestrial television, media productions and enjoy cultural live events. For a thriving media and cultural sector, vote to keep the lower UHF band for TV distribution, media productions and cultural events.

Relevant links and documents


Vincent Sneed

Senior EU Policy Adviser