Spectrum is the range of frequencies used to transmit data wirelessly. It is divided into different bands. The Lower UHF band (470 to 694 MHz) is the band used by public service media (PSM) to deliver free-to-air Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) to audiences. It has been shared with wireless production systems (PMSE) for decades.
Every day, millions of people in Europe benefit from terrestrial television, media productions and enjoy cultural live events via the lower UHF spectrum band.
At the ITU’s 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 will result in a de facto exclusion of the media and PMSE from the airwaves.
The EBU relentlessly aims to ensure there is sufficient spectrum for DTT, to sustain a vibrant European audiovisual landscape. The EBU urges negotiators to vote to preserve the current good use of the lower UHF spectrum for media distribution because:
- Terrestrial television via the UHF spectrum is simple, inclusive and cheap: plugging in a TV set offers instant access to a plethora of public and private programmes
- It is reliable in all situations: even in natural or man-made catastrophes, this form of broadcasting distribution is very robust
- It is a sustainable distribution method – and the most sustainable when it comes to distributing the same content to all citizens
- DTT is innovative: it requires constant innovation and development of new digital technologies, for example 5G Broadcast
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, were justified by the need to develop rural broadband, but the current rural deficiencies can only be resolved by further developing infrastructure.