back to article Ofcom asks Arqiva to stick price on 600MHz spectrum

Arqiva, holders of a virtual monopoly on UK broadcast infrastructure, has been asked to provide indicative pricing in case anyone fancies launching some TV channels at 600MHz. In an updated statement (pdf, short and to the point) Ofcom postpones any auction until the end of 2012, but the regulator has asked Arqiva to work out …


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  1. Mage Silver badge

    "so it would fit six new HD TV channels"

    56 MHz / 8MHz = 7

    That's not 7 HDTV channels. That's potentially 7 x DVB-T2 Multiplexes.

    If you used robust coding and DVB-T2 (all UK Freeview HD boxes get DVB-T2 and older DVB-T boxes and TVs won't receive MPEG4 / HD anyway) then you have maybe 25Mbps, allowing about 3 or 4 statistically muxed HDTV channels. It's likely possible to do 6 HDTV channels on one DVB-T2 mux with less robust coding.

    But for a Nationwide Network you can't use all 7 mux everywhere, as a SFN will likely not work nationally.

    So maybe between 2 and 3 Mux Nationally, maybe SFN in some areas and thus between 6 channels and 18 channels Nationally. Depending on Coverage and Quality.

    If you leave out areas with co-channel interference (satellite?) maybe you could have 4 Mux nationally and 80% coverage with 20+ HDTV channels.

    TV3 in Ireland only had about 80% coverage on Analogue. Five coverage on Analogue wasn't great which is why they were on Analogue Satellite before Sky Digital Launched.

    Any commercial deployment will care about most channels for least Multiplexes and 75% to 80% coverage if allowed as 99% coverage nearly triples the cost for <18% more advertising revenue as likely rural people have satellite, and only existing Satellite or Cable channels might consider this expensive addition.

    Really actually it's not economically viable.

    1. Mike Dimmick

      Most likely two muxes

      Arqiva wrote a study for a previous phase of the Digital Dividend Review, in which they analyzed use of C31-35 and C37 to create two new 'layers' as they termed it.

      C38 is reserved for Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) and C36 remains reserved for radio astronomy. C31-C34 were used as a full part of the analogue broadcasting spectrum, carrying BBC One, BBC Two, ITV1, C4/S4C before switchover, and C35 and C37 made up part of the reduced-scale network for Channel 5.

      Predicted coverage of all 8 multiplexes is 87.6%, compared to 90.6% for the existing multiplexes, using 16 additional sites (existing broadcasting sites, but which don't carry the full set of existing multiplexes). The other 1,000 sites will only relay the three public-service multiplexes (which include the existing HD services). That prediction was based on DVB-T 64QAM 2/3 8K carriers with a 1/4 guard interval for 19.9 Mbit/s; DVB-T2 256QAM 2/3 32K carriers with a 1/16 guard interval (which is the same time duration, 224us) would give, I think, 38.1 Mbit/s.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ofcom asks Arqiva to stick price on 600MHz spectrum

    I'd buy it.

    Though I'd prefer a 1GHz BBC Model B.

  3. MJI Silver badge

    Don't sell off the broacast spectrum

    We will need it in the future for UHD.

    Mind you we need it now for SD, BBC 1, 2, News24 SD now looks rubbish compared to pre DSO.

    Looks like watching a youtube video.

    I remember the high SD bitrates and top class as good as DVD broadcasts during the Ondodgy years and early Freeview years.

    I am sure DSO was supposed to improve the picture not make it worse.

    Good picture 95% of the time with no picture 5% due to Emly Moor analogue, or a rubbish picture all of the time.

    As to HD (Freesat this time) that has gone down in quality with the drop in bitrates, and where did the promise on no on screen turds on dramas and films gone then Nagler?

    My holiday videos are now better than broadcast!

    1. MJI Silver badge

      My holiday videos are now better than broadcast!

      In all honesty they are!

      Using HDV which is 1440x1080i MPEG2 at 25kbps, editing doesn't reencode picture except at disolves, sound is reencoded.

      Burnt onto BluRay.

      And I use a tripod.

      Better than low bitrate SDTV

      Better than logo ridden low bit rate HD with seriously crushed colours.

      From a home market camera

  4. proto-robbie

    Obsolete already...

    ... give us more wi-fi type comms. and we could download all the TV we might want.

    In any case, do we really need more TV, not to mention new digiboxes too?

  5. Harmless

    56MHz = six new HD TV channels?

    "It's 56MHz wide (starting at 550MHz) so it would fit six new HD TV channels that could be received using existing Freeview boxes, if anyone wanted to broadcast them."

    I make that 7 x 8 MHz, not 6.

    Each 8MHz TV channel can contain one muliplex delivering a number of HD channels. I currenly get BBC One HD, BBC HD and Channel 4 HD all from the same RF channel.

    1. Bill Ray (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: 56MHz = six new HD TV channels?

      Sadly to achieve national coverage one needs more than one 8MHz channel, as neighbouring transmitters need to be on different frequencies.

      Ofcom reckons that the 7x8MHz slots is just enough for one national multiplex, that single multiplex containing six HD channels in it.


  6. Chris Redpath

    The problem with putting wifi or other data uses in this spectrum space is (as mentioned in the article) that we will be one of very few countries where such spectrum is available, so devices will probably be rare and more expensive than alternatives. Such usage really needs to be coordinated on at least an EU-wide basis, and ideally more.

    If it's used for TV you could also put MPEG4-encoded SD channels on it with DVB-T2 broadcasting and squeeze more channels in. If each mux is able to give about 25Mbps, you could have 10 or more SD channels each. A mix of 4-8HD channels and an additional 10-20 SD channels sounds pretty good to me. Stick all the +1s on there, so people without T2 equipment can get more real channels.

  7. Guillermo Lo Coco
    Thumb Down

    Who want TV?

    ... Me no.

    I hate to loose control of what i buy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you're worried about being loose as a result of your purchases

      Try some kegels, and switch your entertainment products for models of slightly lesser girth?

  8. Stuart 1
    Thumb Down

    Bang in the middle of the Ground Penetrating Radar spectrum

    Tough luck if you're working in utilities detection or are a member of Time Team.

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