TapDigital Dividend

A hot topic at the moment is Ofcom’s proposal to sell off the Analogue TV frequency bands, called the Digital Dividend. This is controversial, not only for those people who want to retain their old tellies bus also for the live entertainment industry. The reason for this is that digital TV requires less spectrum than analogue so they can free up some bands as the analogue is turned off. However, they currently share these bands with low bandwidth, low power uses such as radio microphones who slip into the gaps between TV transmissions.

How does this affect church systems?

The VHF Band III license exempt range 173.8 to 175.0 MHz is not affected at all. Although the band is coming into use for DAB radio, it misses our channels.

The UHF licence exempt Channel 70 (863.1 to 864.9 MHz) is also to remain unchanged under the proposals.

So no change then! But one other proposal will have an effect. It is proposed to change the currently licensed Channel 69 (854.1 to 861.9 MHz) to become license exempt. This could be good news for churches and other amateur use because those frequencies, which come on many systems but you are not supposed to use, suddenly become available.

As you might expect, professional users who have a considerable investment in licensed equipment are up in arms about this and other changes so I don’t expect the proposal to get through unaltered. Ofcom wants them to go digital at the same time but the technology is not up to it yet.

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