Insights Ofcom publishes update on support for Progamme Making and Special Events equipment owners vacating the 700 MHz band


Ofcom has published a consultation on proposals for how a grant scheme should operate to support Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) equipment owners affected by the 700 MHz clearance.

In November 2014, Ofcom announced that the 700 MHz band, which is currently used for digital terrestrial TV and wireless microphone applications, known as PMSE, would be repurposed for mobile data as soon as practicably possible.

Ofcom’s spectrum management decision in October 2016 means the timetable for the 700 MHz clearance programme will be accelerated by 18 months, with the aim to complete it by the second quarter of 2020. Ofcom has, therefore, served notice on PMSE users in the 700 MHz band that they will no longer have access to this spectrum from 1 May 2020.

The Government has decided to fund a grant scheme to support PMSE equipment owners that need to vacate the 700 MHz band. Ofcom has agreed with Government to design and run a scheme to disburse the funds.

This document sets out Ofcom’s proposals for how the grant scheme should operate, including the eligibility criteria that claimants should satisfy in order to be considered for funding.

Separately, Ofcom is also consulting on proposals to make available the 700 MHz “guard band” — 694 MHz to 703 MHz — for use for PMSE services.

The closing date for responses to both consultations is 29 June 2017. To access the support for PMSE equipment owners consultation, click here. To access the “guard band” consultation, click here.