Ofcom annoys broadcasters to please mobile firms
The Digital Britain report made the case for mobile broadband to fill in some of the 'broadband not-spots' in the country at the moment and it appears that Ofcom agrees as it is planning to allocate extra radio spectrum for mobile broadband use.
By harmonising the spectrum used in the UK with that of Europe it may reduce the cost to users of mobile broadband, as more services and hardware can be used across Europe. Unfortunately the part of the spectrum is already used by wireless microphones which are widely used by music festivals and broadcasters. The appeal of a wireless microphone also means that there will be many smaller operations such as DJ's, social clubs and small bands that are likely to be affected. Estimates are that some £100m of kit will be effectively useless, though Ofcom is proposing funding so no extra costs are incurred replacing kit, but how this will be administered is not known.
Another issue will be the need for those with digital terrestrial receivers to retune them. While most of the population will notice and understand publicity surrounding the need for this, there are going to many people with older relatives for whom the switch to digital TV is already confusing and visits from the family 'techie' will be needed.
If this spectrum re-allocation does go ahead, there may be some interesting moments as a rarely used wireless microphone is switched on, and potentially clashes with mobile broadband signals.