Dangers of TV Spectrum Auctions

The BBC’s Catherine Smadja warned other countries against following UK plans to auction off spectrum to the highest bidder during the IBC session entitled, The Great Spectrum Landrush, at the recent International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam.
Smadja, a senior policy advisor at the corporation, said spectrum did not belong to the regulator or the broadcasters, but to citizens. She went on to say that Ofcom’s auction plans have several potential pitfalls, one of which was that the spectrum would go to the highest bidder, preventing smaller operators from having any likelihood of obtaining spectrum and went on to say that “we should not be taking decisions that will lead to indefinite licenses in this changing environment.” arguing that the final aim for the allocation of the “digital dividend” should be about delivering public value. “Spectrum belongs to the public. It is not only a question of money”.
There was also a warning against pan-European auctions and the prospect of confusion amongst manufacturers having to make variations in their products for different countries. Guard areas might be needed to prevent interference.
Smadja said the regulator Ofcom had come out against BBC proposals to create a “use it or lose it rule” to prevent spectrum hoarding.
Sources: ibce-daily and Broadband TV News
Item added: 17th September 2008