UK: Efforts to secure sufficient spectrum access for pro-audio post-switchover are ongoing, writes David Davies. Speaking to PSNE for a feature that will appear in the January print issue, Sennheiser's Alan March (pictured) revealed that UK PMSE (performance making & special events) action groups have lately been in talks with Ofcom about a potential replacement for channel 69, which is likely to be re-allocated to mobile phone services.
"We are in discussions with Ofcom about a potential solution for the channel 69 problem, although I am reluctant to say too much about this now, not least because nothing has been finalised yet," says March, a driving force behind the UK PMSE campaign. "It is important to note that we will not press forward unless we get the backing of the BEIRG membership and other interested parties. However, if a framework can be in put in place whereby a transition from channel 69 is assisted, then I think that could be one way out for all concerned."
Aside from any possible channel 69-related announcements, the next development with relevance to UK PMSE is expected to be the announcement in autumn 2009 of a new band manager to administer the spectrum. Encouragingly, the regulator has indicated that the spectrum awarded to the band manager will be primarily for PSME use, and that any applications by other groups to utilise this spectrum will have to be approved by Ofcom.
In addition, it has been suggested by the regulator in a meeting with PMSE activists that the long-term plan of ensuring that PMSE users pay something closer to the market rate for their spectrum will be the subject of a review two years before its probable enaction in 2018.
"The whole debate is still far from over," admits March, "but at least things are moving on and meetings are taking place. The final outcome won't be ideal for everyone, but we will continue to try and get the best result that we can for the industry."
Meanwhile, the pan-European campaign has been boosted by the recent launch of the Association of Professional Wireless Production Technologies (slogan: 'save our spectrum'). BEIRG, beyerdynamic, Riedel Communications, Sennheiser and Shure Europe are among the organisations to have signed up.
For more on the 'spectrum saga' in the UK, mainland Europe and the US, see the January print issue of PSNE.