UK Broadcasters: TV more valuable than broadband

The UK’s reports that a group of British broadcasters including BBC, ITV and Channel 4 has issued a new report warning that plans to allocate more radio spectrum to mobile phone operators could damage the television market, which provides almost £80 billion to the UK economy.

The report, commissioned by umbrella body Digital UK, claims that television delivers more value per unit of spectrum than mobile broadband. For digital terrestrial television (which includes Freeview), the average value per MHz is £470 million, compared with just £190m for mobile data, according to the report.

Terrestrial television also supports 15,000 jobs and creates healthy competition between platforms, while ensuring that viewers can access public service channels without subscription.

However, mobile already has a far greater allocation of spectrum than television, after the digital switchover last year freed up capacity for 4G mobile broadband. The mobile industry now occupies 560 MHz, compared to 256 MHz for TV.

Digital UK is urging the government to ensure that any further transfers of airwaves do not weaken Freeview and other terrestrial TV services, and that viewers should not suffer disruption or foot the bill for making the changes.


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