Ofcom outlines TV plans for 2012

UK regulator Ofcom has outlined its plans for TV, particularly digital terrestrial, while declaring that it expects to auction spectrum in the 600MHz band in 2012-13. It said that one potential use would be to provide new TV services on digital-terrestrial TV, possibly including new standard definition and HD channels on Freeview, the country’s Free To Air DTT service.

Ofcom will prioritize the planned 800MHz and 2.6GHz auction over the 600MHz auction, to avoid running the two auctions at the same time. However, in the event that there is a delay to the 800MHz and 2.6GHz auction, it may progress the 600MHz auction in the meantime.
Other TV-related plans include pressing ahead on work to implement a geolocation-based approach to enable white space access on a license-exempt basis in the UHF TV band.

Ofcom will also begin the process of working on the renewal of public broadcaster Channel 4’s license, set to expire at the end of 2014. Channel 4 has been given a substantially increased public service remit as a result of last year’s Digital Economy Act.

If the plan is approved by Parliament, Ofcom will also move forward with plans to license local TV services in the first half of the 2012-13 period. It envisages licensing a single multiplex operator that will deliver local television using geographically interleaved spectrum in a number of different locations, and subsequently moving forwards with licensing of individual services.