the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

2 April 2009

BECTU is to play its part in the on-going debate about the disposal of analogue spectrum when it makes a further submission to Ofcom later this month.

The regulator has invited submissions to its consultation Digital Dividend: clearing the 800 MHz band by 20 April 2009.

Individual submissions can be made online.

The issue is one of major importance to thousands of BECTU members working in theatre, live events and broadcasting, who currently have free access to Channel 69.

Feedback is being sought on the full implications of the proposal to move radio mics from Channel 69 to Channel 38.

Ofcom is charged with setting the framework to deliver a substantial digital dividend to the Treasury through the sell-off of analogue spectrum to the commercial sector. Analogue spectrum will be freed up when digital switchover is completed by 2012.

BECTU's earlier submissions have emphasised the need to provide for free-to-air high definition transmission and to protect the interests of small businesses, the not-for-profit sector and local communities, all of whom will suffer significant hardship if the cost of future access fails to take account of their needs.

BECTU's public interest arguments and concern for the Programme Making and Special Events sector, were highlighted last year by the union's president Tony Lennon when he spoke at a Westminster event.

Plans for the disposal of analogue assets in the UK have been deferred as the powers that be here consider whether to follow the European plan to use Channels 61-69 for telecoms purposes.  

BECTU members are invited to comment on this issue. Please log-in and go to Forums