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Radio Spectrum

Volume 451: debated on Monday 30 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assistance her Department is giving to the programme making and special events industry in its negotiations to harmonise the use of the radio spectrum throughout Europe; and if she will make a statement. (94766)

I have been asked to reply.

The Office of Communications (Ofcom), the independent regulator of communications, is responsible for managing civil radio spectrum in the UK including the allocation and licensing of frequency bands used by programme making and special events (PMSE). In accordance with general directions made under section 22 of the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom also represents the UK in relevant international meetings to discuss proposals for agreeing harmonised use of frequencies for particular applications.

The European Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) has previously considered the case for harmonisation of PMSE frequencies in Europe and the findings were published in an ECC report in 2002. The report made recommendations on preferred frequency sub bands for video links for Services Ancillary to Programme making (SAP) and Services Ancillary to Broadcasting (SAB). Ofcom is wherever possible assigning SAP and SAB services in the identified bands.

Ofcom is also working with other European regulators to determine the scope for global harmonisation of frequency bands for Electronic News Gathering (ENG) with a view to developing a common European position in response to a study being undertaken by the International Telecommunication Union.