back to article Selling off spare spectrum will fail

The European Broadcasting Union believes the auction of spare radio spectrum will reduce original TV programming, and damage society as a whole, without even providing the expected boost to rural broadband. The report (pdf) argues that digital terrestrial TV should receive special treatment as broadcasters can't make money …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Highest bidder probably isn't the best bidder

    An auction has no merit whatsoever.

    We're not talking about a bit of ancient pottery here, we're talking about something that should be of value to society as a whole, not just the company that pays for the spectrum.

    The company that bids the most is more likely to be the company that's going to charge the end-users the most, rather than the company that's going to make the best use for it.

    Frequency should be allocated according to need and merit, not superficial profit to the government.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hurrah for common sense

    At least someone who is in a position to influence Ofcom and the government has some common sense. The sell off of the spectrum currently occupied by analogue TV is a massive abuse of a public resource and not at all in the public interest. Yet another example of this government seeking to hide the holes in their budget with short term cash raised by prostituting public assets.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Going Mobile

    I know the feeling - I have a 48K Plus model that I have been trying to sell for a while now, but no-one wants it, even though I have the box and a copy of Jet Set Willy. The rubber key version is in much greater demand.

  4. Mark

    Anyone seen Gerry Anderson?

    We have a report about WaSP and another about Spectrum, now all we need are Joe 90 to have the whole team here since I'm sure the vultures could be considered Thunderbirds....!

    Mine is the one with all the strings....

  5. amanfromMars Silver badge

    The Roles of your Lives

    If the PMSE Crowd got their Creative Act together with a Co-Ordinated Multi Thread Multi Core Script which they can Populate in Direction with Existing Infrastructure and Assets in a Future Indicative Programming ie Creative Artist Programmers Presenting to you The Future through your Feedback in Comment/Opinion for Viewing. And the Best Programs are Free so that everyone can follow them and therefore IT Leads with Society Building what being Shown as their Plan for their Children's Children's Future ...... which is just far enough away to be Easily Imaginable. But that of course is only the Starting Point for Building .... Ground Zero Imaginanation.

    That would allow SMART Actors and/or Real Performers Live Roles which could be BroadBandCast as Role Lead Models to Emulate rather than simply perceived as Entertainment. IT is Edutainment ..... Watch Listen and Learn how you get to do whatever you want because it is just so good that they show the whole world.

    And is it not a bit "horse before the cart" carving up the delivery spectrum whenever digital content is so limited. Surely IntelAIgently Designed Digital Content Programming could be/should be Showing the Programs 42 Follow as AI Leads.

  6. John Styles

    What irks me...

    Is that Ofcom has so many people and yet advocates this sort of market based guff. Clearly if we are really going for a market based system we can turf them all out onto the street and replace them with

    a) one lawyer

    b) one economist

    c) one person to understand the technical implications

    d) one person to run the auction website

    e) one admin person, who can bank the cheques as they come in

    What we seem to have at the moment is an expensive hands-off regulator. Why, for example, were the DAB multiplexes auctioned off on a multiplex by multiplex basis not on a 'there is room for 7 (6,5,whatever) stations here, we will let them on a station by station basis and we, as an expensive regulator in a posh building with a nice view of the Thames, will make sure they play nicely together and coordinate transmission / marketing etc.'?

  7. lucmars

    Wrong reason

    The EBU explanation is correct but their reason is wrong. TV programs are stupefying, they're never been interesting and they never have elevated anybody.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The value of auctions, and spectrum

    The Ofcon in this article, is it the same Ofcon that had a string of auctions for regional fixed wireless access broadband, and a handful of companies won the various licences?

    The Ofcon in this article, is it the same Ofcon that then let the various regional licences be re-sold so that one company (PCCW) held them all?

    The Ofcon in this article, is it the same Ofcon that then let PCCW sit on their licences without actually delivering any visible broadband service of any significance, anywhere in the UK, apart from a few bits of RG postcodes and a few bits of something called London?

    And that's a success story demonstrating that licence auctions lead to some kind of efficiency? - check your postcode, and when it says "no service", contact Ofcom and ask when they will be forcing the licence holder to return the licence because there's no prospect of Ofcon's authorised licence holder providing a wireless broadband service in your area in the foreseeable future.

  9. Dries Marais
    Black Helicopters

    The Rules of Your Lives

    "You shall only be educated by what we decide is at any one time required for society to be educated (read indoctrinated) with."

  10. Dries Marais

    The Rules of your Lives

    "We decide what to educate (read "indoctrinate") society with, you hear!"

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This cracks me up

    The word "efficient", beloved of bean-counters, always gets rolled out coughing and wheezing when someones up to make a killing, but usually has little resemblance to reality.

    Fabricating car parts in country 'A', shipping them 10,000 miles to country 'B' for assembly, then another 10,000 back to 'A' to be sold may well be financially efficient, but it's the kind of moronic thinking that given us global warming.

    When the bored and poverty stricken masses, deprived of telly and further impoverished by paying the mobile operators through the nose for their weekly fix of X-factor, go on the rampage and trash a few corporate HQs (perhaps stringing a few of said bean counters up on the way), perhaps financially "efficient" won't look quite so slick and testosterone-boosting after all.

  12. Schultz
    Dead Vulture

    What are we smoking?

    Nice idea to reserve the public good for the do-gooders. But what's good for you? Maybe whe should have a comission decide ... or an auction, then we'll see who is /serious/ about /doing/ something good with the goods.

    Ooh, I see that's what's being tried here, then lets just get back to smoking our personal brando'goodness, everyone!

    That bird is so stoned.

  13. Richard
    Paris Hilton

    TV Educating??

    "If broadcasters are required to spend their money on spectrum then there'll be less original programming, leading to a less well-educated population and the general collapse of society as we know it".

    Forgive me for being old fashioned but anyone who lets TV educate them/their offspring is already at the bottom end of society

    Just leaves more space for us intelligent lot who read and learn from other sources (like t'internet)

    Paris cos she wouldn't exist if it wasn't for less original programming

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "If broadcasters are required to spend their money on spectrum then there'll be less original programming, leading to a less well-educated population and the general collapse of society as we know it."

    I'm so stupid I'm incapable of forming a coherent argument against that nor am I capable of listing a set of well structured and thought provoking comments about said quote.

    I might as well give up an go watch some more big brother.

    (I gave up on television providing my intellectual stimuli a long time ago)

  15. Slaine

    pot's not strong enough

    With the vast majority of UK televisual broadcasts being dedicated almost exclusively to "soap-operas", "makeovers", "cookery" and "sofa chat" (and to point out which sexual gender group that is specifically aimed at will get me a one-way ticket to the recycle bin, irrespective of truth, fairness, accuracy or validity), I found it was most humerously entertaining to read... "television services are possibly the most important instrument for delivering public service through the promotion of cultural understanding" oops - I just let go a bit of wee.

  16. Simon Elliott

    Get your streaming platform up and running now !!!!!

    This will lead to lower quality programming, true.

    Broadcast Channels wont have the money to spend on production, true.


    The cost of production has fallen,

    The media consumer is happy to have more choice and is not worried about quality when presented with quantity.

    This trend is well underway.

  17. Mark Wills

    Spectrum for sale

    Ofcom, kindly be advised: Should you find yourself running short of spectrums to sell, I would just like to say that I have a PRISTINE Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k (rubber key model) BOXED and fully complete. It's just had a NEW keyboard membrane fitted and is totally mint. I was considering selling it on Ebay, however, from past memory, your auctions are considerably more profitable than Ebay's, so I would be happy to come to some sort of arrangement. Paypal only please, positive feedback left on completion of sale. Cheers.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Oy, Mark.... NOOOOO!

    Oy, Mark Wills. Before you sell that rubber-membraned pile of old bobbins, I suggest you consider GIVING it to me, as a direct replacement of the Speccy+ of mine that your trout-faced ex-missus binned... BE-ATCH!

    Got any software to go with it please?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There is only one reason and one reason only that the government (and ofcom) want to auction off unused spectrum space: to make money.

    Simple as that. Look what happened with 3G, what a disaster.

    Given that Brown has created an economy where the government now has the highest level of public sector borrowing ever, and a 10 billion pound shortfall between income and expenditure, it's no suprise he and his useless goverment want to make as much money as they can.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Efficient use of spectrum

    "Ofcom, meanwhile, would like to see the whole electromagnetic spectrum opened up to the highest bidder, on the basis that he who is prepared to pay most will make most efficient use of the bandwidth. "

    Yeah, like DAB radio where the compression is so heavy the audio quality is actually inferior to conventional broadcast FM.

    Like broadcast HDTV, which still isn't a reality, and yet other countries in the world have it. It's bandwidth hungry.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Ofcom arrogance

    Wasn't it ofcom that decided in a report that it was more important to have more radio stations and tv channels and to do so at the expense of audio/image quality, lowering the bit rate, increasing the lossy compression to cram more in.

    And how many of us, in the public, how many of us in the technical professions did *they* ask for our views on it? None as far as I can tell.

    Their arrogance is astounding. How can it be that one government run organisation can have so much influence on 60 million people and determine the audio and video quality of media we watch and listen to ( without even consulting us)?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    >Paris cos she wouldn't exist if it wasn't for less original programming

    There's only one thing Paris is good for, and it ain't cooking or Ironing.

  23. Amitabh Kumar

    Too much spectum for Broadband?

    You need to read the recent report that the Internet will run out of all capacity in two years owing to video heavy traffic. Applications when moving to the wireless environemnt are creating even a bigger need for broadband wireless and the last thing we expect down a couple of years is excess spectrum.

    We have just begun to strach the surface of new applications such as mobile Tv or video streaming.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like