Ofcom to charge UK broadcasters for spectrum use

Ofcom, the UK’s equivalent of the FCC in the United States, plans to charge radio and TV broadcasters for the right to use RF spectrum for their transmissions.

The fee, known as Administered Incentive Pricing (AIP), will be levied beginning in 2014 and is based on the amount of spectrum they use. Other spectrum users, including the Ministry of Defense, mobile phone operators and emergency services, currently pay AIP or an equivalent charge.

The broadcast AIP fee will be levied on multiplex operators BBC, ITV, Channel 4, SDN and National Grid Wireless.

Ofcom has promoted a policy that does not grant UK broadcasters additional spectrum for digital terrestrial transmission of HDTV after the country’s own analog shutoff. Some UK broadcasters had sought additional spectrum for terrestrial HDTV.