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BEIRG urges input in compensation for spectrum clearance

Ofcom consultation may lead to a funding package for audio PMSE users whose equipment will be affected

The British Entertainment Industry Radio Group (BEIRG) is encouraging all members of the Programme making and Special Events (PMSE) industry to have their say about a potential funding scheme to compensate users of the 700MHz band, a portion of spectrum currently used for wireless PMSE equipment, such as wireless microphones and in-ear monitors, but is being cleared to make way for more mobile internet.

Equipment that operates between 694-790MHz will be made obsolete by the clearance and will have to be replaced.

BEIRG, who has been extremely vocal about the changing spectrum landscape since 2004, was awarded the first ever Grand Prix prize at the Pro Sound Awards for its efforts.

Currently, Ofcom is advising the government on the scheme, and on 31 March, issued a consultation document entitled “Managing the effects of 700 MHz Clearance on PMSE and DTT viewers”.

Towards the bottom of the webpage listed above there is a link to a ‘PMSE Financial Questionnaire’.

According to BEIRG while the UK government has not yet formally committed to a funding package for audio PMSE users that will affected by the 700 MHz clearance, the fact that the questionnaire exists shows that a very real attempt is being undertaken by the government to try to establish how much money might be needed to compensate audio PMSE equipment users.

To date, £600 million has been allocated by the UK government for the 700 MHz clearance program as a whole – this includes changes affecting DTT and PMSE.

Equipment that will be affected, and therefore may need replacing under a possible compensation scheme, include:

  • Equipment that tunes to the frequencies within the 700 MHz band, and will therefore lose functionality as a result of the clearance.
  • Equipment that operates in the spectrum below 694 MHz in a fixed location that may no longer be able to operate at those frequencies in that location due to the replanning of DTT broadcasts (details yet to be finalised).
  • Equipment that, whilst not directly affected by the 700 MHz band clearance, is paired with now obsolete equipment that is affected. Eg, racks and antennas.

BEIRG strongly urges those individuals or organisations whose equipment will be negatively impacted (rendered partly or fully redundant) by the 700 MHz band clearance to complete the questionnaire. The closing date is the 13 May 2016.

Additionally, if you are a re-seller of audio PMSE equipment and have sold 700 MHz capable equipment in the past, BEIRG asks that you contact your customers to ensure that they are aware of the existence of the questionnaire.