back to article Euro telly bods say 'non' to spectrum sharing with mobiles

With WRC–15 only a few months away, the battle to protect terrestrial television isn't over yet. Last week the European Broadcasting Union released a fact sheet (PDF) that summarises the key issue – can LTE share spectrum with digital terrestrial television? The brief answer is “No, it can't.” The fact sheet explains some of …

  1. Mage Silver badge

    It's moronic greed

    Terrestrial TV has given up to much spectrum already.

    Greed by regulators thinking of increased license fees

    There has been a huge increase in allocation to Mobile Spectrum above 900MHz too.

    They are not building enough base stations (adds capacity via frequency re-use and up to x20 higher speed due to half distance is about x4 speed). Spectrum is being used inefficiently. If there was a single physical provider and ALL mobile networks where virtual, that would more than double average speed/capacity overnight. The Regulators/Governments oppose this on spurious competition grounds, but the real reason is that their licence income would be 1/4. Licences should be performance based on meeting KPI and then revenue from use. Not up front sales to highest bidders after chopping up the spectrum. Some people "sit" on spectrum for years.

    The regulators want to kill terrestrial TV and have only Cable & Satellite broadcast, or Mobile operators selling Broadcast version of LTE. Certainly Ofcom and Comreg have already decided this is policy, without any consultation.

  2. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    What Mage said.

    What Mage said; this is true in the US too.

    The telcos here ALREADY have all sorts of spectrum they are not using, for several reasons 1) Handsets must support it. 2) They must upgrade sites (either add more antennas, replace the antenna with a fancier multi-band antenna, and either add more radios or replace the radios with a software defined radio with enough frequency coverage.) 3) They simply don't have to, they bought the spectrum at auction (not rented like in UK), and ridiculously there are NO useage or buildout requirements* so companies can just buy it and sit on it.

    Furthermore, cellcos here have barely begun to pursue small cell sites, or microcells (other than ones people buy for use in a household if it's a dead spot otherwise). They'd rather just take all the spectrum and (eventually) add it to existing sites rather than ever adding a capacity site.

    As for "sharing" spectrum.. big problem. Many people here are very far from their stations, and do not necessarily use the "in-market" stations. I, for example, am about 10 miles away from 2 stations, but 55 miles or so away from the other supposedly "in-market" stations. Those stations suck though, so I point my antenna east-southeast and pull in out of market stations 60 miles away. But, some greedy cell co. would blast right over my stations under this type of plan, just so they could ask "Are you REALLY sure you don't want 4GB of data for 'just' $80 a month?" or whatever.

    *800mhz cellular was grandfathered in, but if they didn't built out in some market, another company could petition to take the license. The first 1900mhz PCS auctions had some buildout requirements, but it was like 50% population coverage in a market within 10 years or the like. Ridiculously, companies got away with putting up 1 "license saver" site in the middle of some rural town to count for this... a "license saver" site will not show coverage on coverage maps, will not even provide service to their own customers, but despite it being useless they get to claim to the FCC it "covers" the population. Later 1900mhz and auctions after that have typically had NO buildout requirement whatsoever. Want to sit on it for 20 years just to lock out potential competition? Go ahead!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What Mage said.

      There are no plans for spectrum sharing in the US, so what you fear with having access to out of market stations blocked will not come to pass.

      What they are doing next year is a reverse auction to sell off channels 31-51, and they will then repack everything in the remaining space, while offering incentives for stations to share transmitters. This should be transparent in small/medium sized markets (other than needing to rescan when stations change RF channel assignments, but PSIP insures the number you enter on your remote will stay the same) In really big markets like NYC there are probably more channels than there will be room for when those are sold off, but a combination of channel sharing and some stations simply taking the money and closing down will allow them all to fit.

      That seems like an eminently more reasonable way to handle things that what is being proposed in the EU.

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Re: What Mage said.

        The US and 7 other region admins are pressing for an allocation at WRC-15, between 618 and 698MHz - that's enough votes to prevent the adoption of a common 'No Change' position, which is what we have in Region 1.

        If there were to be a co-primary allocation in even part of the UHF band, and pressure to make that global in the interests of harmonisation, then it would be very damaging for DTT in Region 1, and in particular in Europe where it's a well established distribution method.

        I'm not quite sure what's unreasonable about the way things are being done in the EU (I presume you mean Region 1, really, since it's handled at a rather broader level than the EU). Many people do rely on terrestrial broadcasting, which has already given up a huge amount of space to the shysters of the mobile industry. They're after even more, despite not having used up all they've been given so far.

        Long term, of course, the LTE gang have desires to supplant technologies like DTT for broadcast, Bluetooth for short range and WiFi as well, all of which have been mentioned in various articles here before. Personally, I don't think that's a brilliant idea (and people in broadcasting really don't think LTE is going to be as efficient as DTT either).

  3. ratfox

    DTT and LTE cannot share spectrum?

    Well, I wouldn't mind seeing DTT go…

    1. dajames Silver badge

      Re: DTT and LTE cannot share spectrum?

      I wouldn't mind seeing DTT go…

      I'd miss it ... even the channels that spend most of their time rebroadcasting BBC and other programmes from my youth, with added advertising, can be entertaining at times.

      I do wonder, though: Does anyone actually watch the roughly 50% of all DTT channels that have names like RED HOT CASINO RABBIT AUCTION? There may be scope to save some bandwidth there.

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Re: DTT and LTE cannot share spectrum?

        Some of those channels in the nether reaches of the EPG are either data-based, and so don't consume much bandwidth, or are part-time, using space where another channel doesn't broadcast overnight.

        If DTT goes, I think it would at present be very damaging for the structure of UK broadcasting. It is the primary reception mechanism for those who want free tv and has no simple mechanism for subscription, without replacing everyone's boxes.

        If those boxes have to be replaced then, as I argued last month a lot of people will probably go to people who'll give them a free box, ie Virgin or Sky. And that will make it much, much easier for a government to nudge (or push at the end of a bayonet) the BBC towards a subscription model.

        Yes, some people might just put up a dish and buy a Freesat box, but I suspect many more would be tempted by free kit. And if we suddenly have a media landscape in which the majority of homes have the ability (if not the desire) to be charged for the channels we watch, I suspect it would not be that long before other channels decided that they may as well encrypt and get a bit of cash from the gatekeepers too.

        So, in my view, DTT as presently operated in the UK is one of the things that is helping to ensure that we do have a rich range of free to air channels. Lose that, and we would very probably have a completely different media landscape within a few years.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: DTT and LTE cannot share spectrum?

      I would, I use it.

      I also use Freesat.

      If a 4G TX takes out my DTTV I will take out the mast

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward




    1. paulf

      Re: Eh?


  5. FlossyThePig

    MUX Raking

    "After 2020, there'll only be space for six multiplexes, rather than the eight we have at the moment."

    There are only 6 currently transmitted from Sudbury, so no change there.

    A quick look at revealed that only "QVC+1 HD" and "QVC Beauty HD" are broadcast on COM8 so there's nothing to lose on that one.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: MUX Raking

      Yes, the 'temporary' additional muxes don't have full coverage. I think it's something like 75% off the top of my head. They're part of the lure (and what could be more alluring, surely, than QVC Beauty in HD?) to persuade more people to get receivers that support T2.

      Another of the lures is on COM7: Al-Jazeera Arabic. You may not be bothered about watching it yourself, but as I wrote when it launched, it represents a significant step in the evolution of Freeview, as the first SD channel on a T2 mux.

  6. Potemkine Silver badge

    WRC-15 ?

    You mean RWC 2015, right? ^^

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