US spectrum chart

World Broadcasting groups unite to protect TV spectrum

Broadcasting unions from around the world have issued a joint statement calling for the preservation of spectrum allocated to TV. The World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) argue that the frequency range of 470 to 694 MHz is vital, as it is the only set of airwaves globally and technically available for digital terrestrial TV broadcasting.

There is growing pressure to transfer parts of this allocation to mobile internet use, but broadcast unions assert this would threaten free-to-air TV. In turn, this would impact citizens’ access to Public Service Broadcasting.

The Caribbean Broadcasting Union, one of the WBU unions and a CBA member, has written to Caricom, the group of 15 governments in the Caribbean with its concerns, in the run-up to voting on spectrum allocation at the World Radiocommunication Conference next year. The CBU urged Caricom governments to ensure decisions made in the regional and global forums of the ITU (the UN body holding the conference) do not harm the interests of regional broadcasters.

This month the CBU sent Caricom broadcasting ministers the results of recent international studies showing that spectrum-sharing in these frequency bands could result in TV reception interference and affect the survival of  broadcasters. The issue will be a key part of agenda for the CBU’s Annual General Assembly in Suriname later this month.

The European Broadcasting Union, also a member of the WBU, has a very clear and informative factsheet on the importance of preserving TV spectrum here.

Image: detail from a US spectrum allocation chart, with TV broadcasting shown in blue/green (click to enlarge)

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