Monday 3 March 2014

EBU Shocked By Swedish UHF Band Decision

The EBU today expressed serious concern at a Swedish government decision to reallocate the 700 MHz spectrum band to "other forms of use" from 2017, since such a fast switchover will jeopardize the integrity of television services in Sweden. Television will now have to partly return to the VHF Band III, which is also utilized by DAB radio. 

EBU Technology & Innovation Director Simon Fell, said: Digital terrestrial television can’t move out of the 700 MHz band in Sweden in the government’s proposed timeframe without substantial disruption to Swedish consumers. A smooth transition involves detailed planning and engagement with all sectors of the television industry.  

In Sweden there are currently more than 60 TV services operating in the 700 MHz band that would need to be moved elsewhere to make room for the government’s plans. The shift will require new technologies, such as DVB-T2, whose launch will require a substantial financial investment by the broadcast industry and will disrupt digital terrestrial television reception for households without DVB-T2 compatible decoders. 

However, today only 25 % of the households are receiving television via DTT. The major distribution platforms in Sweden are cable and satellite. There is also increasing fixed and mobile broadband viewing.
Details of the latest move are currently being debated under International Telecommunication Union (ITU) preparations for the decisive WRC-15 conference next year. The EBU and others use this forum to highlight the importance of minimizing any interference to broadcasting by any future mobile services that operate in the 700 MHz band. The broadcasters and telecom operators are also in discussion in the European Commission High-Level Group on the future of the UHF band, which will meet next in Brussels March 10th.

The push for mobile broadband services is increasing fast in Sweden and other countries in the lead for development of new services including video and television on 4G/LTE.

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