This statement sets out our decision to clear the 800 MHz band – 790-862 MHz, channels 61 to 69 in UHF Bands IV and V – of existing and previously planned users and align the upper band of the UK’s digital dividend with the spectrum being identified for release by an increasing number of other European countries. It also sets out the high level principles for how we intend to clear those existing and previously planned users – digital terrestrial television (DTT) and programme-making and special events (PMSE) – from channels 61, 62 and 69.
The UK has been at the forefront within Europe in planning for and realising a digital dividend. In 2003, before Ofcom came into existence, the UK Government decided to release 112 MHz of this valuable spectrum when digital switchover (DSO) was complete. The plan then developed envisaged this dividend would comprise two distinct bands of spectrum:
We have subsequently cleared aeronautical radar from channel 36 and plan to clear UK radioastronomy from channel 38 in 2012. This will extend the lower band to include the whole of 550-630 MHz (channels 31-40) and increase the total amount of cleared spectrum in the digital dividend to 128 MHz.