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Programme Making and Special Events Sector

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate his Department has made of the value of the programme making and special events sector to the UK economy; and if he will make a statement. (126311)

We have not made an estimate of the value of the programme making and special events sector to the UK economy, but we are conscious of its importance.

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 the programme making and special events (PMSE) sector. As part of its digital dividend review, Ofcom published a consultation paper on the Ofcom website (www.ofcom.org.uk) in December 2006. The consultation period is open until 20 March, during which time all interested parties, including those with a specific interest in PMSE requirements, are encouraged to make their views known.

They have received significant interest in their consultation from the programme making and special events (PMSE) sector and are planning a farther consultation on this matter in the near future.

I do understand that the PMSE sector is one of the current users of the DDR spectrum which is being required to change its use and that this has cost implications. As such, a period of transition may be necessary, and fully understanding the impact of any changes on the sector is vital. Officials have, and will continue to engage with stakeholders and Ofcom following the consultation. By exploring the issues, and working together, we hope that a solution can be found which meets the public interest and ensures that the PMSE sector can access appropriate spectrum fit for purpose.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from the programme making and special events sector regarding the digital dividend review. (126312)

I have received representations from the organisation Equity. 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 the programme making and special events (PMSE) sector. Any representation on Ofcom's spectrum consultations is a matter for the regulator; any received by the Department will be passed on to the chief executive officer.

As part of its digital dividend review, Ofcom published a consultation paper on the Ofcom website (www.ofcom.org.uk) in December 2006. The consultation period is open until 20 March, during which time all interested parties, including those with a specific interest in PMSE requirements, are encouraged to make their views known.

They have received significant interest in their consultation from the programme making and special events (PMSE) sector and are planning a further consultation on this matter in the near future.

I do understand that the PMSE sector is one of the current users of the DDR spectrum which is being required to change its use and that this has cost implications. As such, a period of transition may be necessary, and fully understanding the impact of any changes on the sector is vital. Officials have, and will continue to engage with stakeholders and Ofcom following the consultation. By exploring the issues, and working together, we hope that a solution can be found which meets the public interest and ensures that the PMSE sector can access appropriate spectrum fit for purpose.