Ofcom to auction TV frequencies in 2009

Ofcom will, in 2009, auction off the radio frequencies that presently carry terrestrial television following the national switch to digital TV.

Ofcom will, in 2009, auction off the radio frequencies that presently carry terrestrial television following the national switch to digital TV.

The frequencies are suitable for ultra-fast wireless broadband services, mobile television, more digital terrestrial television channels in either standard or high-definition, local television, wireless microphones, and low-power applications developed from Wi-Fi, Ofcom said.

Transmissions in the UHF band cover large geographical areas with relatively few transmitters, and penetrate buildings well. This makes it the highest quality spectrum likely to be released in the UK in the next 10 or 20 years, Ofcom said.

Ofcom said an auction would create the maximum flexibility for different services. It would also allow use of the spectrum to change as demand develops, as technology evolves and as new services become available.

It would encourage innovation in technology and services, competition in wireless services and lower prices, it said. Together this would boost the economy by £5bn to £10bn over 20 years. Use of the radio spectrum presently underpins 3% of the UK's GDP, it said.

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