UK regulator considers shutting off AM and FM radio and using spectrum for mobile TV

Dec 08, 2006 4:17 am
From CMedford at Red Herring:
Neither television nor the movies could do it, but regulators in the United Kingdom are considering the end of AM and FM radio on the grounds that they have both outlived their usefulness, and digital services could make better use of the spectrum occupied by both bands. Ofcom, the U.K.’s communications regulator, published a statement that said many of the AM and FM licenses are up for renewal and an automatic renewal could tie up very valuable slices of spectrum for 24 years, so the time is right for a long-term decision....By making a decision on the future of analog commercial radio now, the U.K regulator argues, it will have more flexibility in the use of the VHF Band II spectrum currently occupied by FM radio. Ofcom believes that the spectrum would be put to better use if it were allotted to emerging services such as mobile TV and more digital radio and data services.

“FM radio re-uses a limited number of frequencies in a patchwork across the U.K. to deliver around 300 local BBC and commercial services and five UK-wide networks,” said the Ofcom statement. “Any alternative uses for those frequencies would require large chunks of that spectrum to be freed-up simultaneously—something a rolling re-licensing process does not allow for,” the statement continued.