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Broadcasters pan Ofcom over white space disruption to Freeview

The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have condemned Ofcom’s plans to use the “white spaces” of the TV spectrum to launch wireless services. 

The broadcasters said that the proposals could interrupt viewing for millions of Freeview households. 

The regulator intends to use these gaps in the spectrum used to broadcast Freeview channels for a range of wireless services. 

Broadcasters pan Ofcom over white space disruption to Freeview
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Digital terrestrial signals have been threatened by the launch of 4G, although hard work by has seen any potential interference kept to a minimum. 

While TV White Space can be used to provide wireless broadband services in remote areas, broadcasters are cocerned that it could disrupt TV broadcasts. 

In October, Ofcom launched a pilot scheme alongside 20 companies, including BT, Microsoft and Google, to test potential uses for the white space gaps. These include rural wireless broadband, traffic congestion data and wireless “Smart City” hubs in Glasgow. 

Industry body, Digital UK, owned by the BBC, Channel 4 and Arqiva, sent a response to the plans and said that its technical plans had a number of errors, which led the broadcasters to raise a number of concerns that Freeview reception could be seriously affected. 

“Based on the technical parameters detailed in the consultation, certain assumptions in the modelling have the potential to significantly affect DTT coverage, which could ultimately disrupt TV viewing to noticeable levels,” said Digital UK in the response document. 

The industry body also warned that Ofcom wasn’t offering acceptable assurances of protection to viewers with indoor aerials.

We urge Ofcom to act with caution as it assesses the impact TV white spaces may have on the availability and functionality of the terrestrial television platform and its viewers,” the organisation said.

Digital UK asked Ofcom to share its view on how the process for identifying and remedying suspected white space interference is managed “in the near future.”

Image: Jim Linwood/Flickr


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