Despite strenuous campaigning efforts, the UK Government’s compensation package to PMSE users being evicted from the 800MHz spectrum is expected to encompass only 6% of the affected frequencies. If implemented, this would threaten many smaller businesses supplying live and broadcast events.
While Channel 69 will be included, Channels 31-37 and 61-68 are not part of the package. It is these additional channels that are required to produce large-scale events such as the forthcoming London Olympics.
The announcement by digital economy minister Ed Vaizey (pictured) emerges in the week that the Government said it wanted Ofcom to undertake an auction of 2.6GHz and 800MHz radio spectrum by the end of 2011, paving the way for new mobile broadband technologies including 4G.
There has also been widespread criticism of the Government from another wing of the creative industries after it was revealed that the UK Film Council is set to be abolished in 2012.
Reflecting on the PMSE decision, Save Our Sound UK’s spokesman commented: “To call this package ‘generous’ is an abuse of the English language. The decision will devastate the small and medium-sized businesses that support the UK’s live events industry. Where are they going to find the extra money to continue to do their job? Without them, the large-scale events sector could collapse like a house of cards.
“This shows that the Minister simply does not understand how the Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) sector works. An injustice has been done. But worse than that – it is an injustice that will have severe consequences.
“The winners are the spectrum-greedy behemoth corporations and the Government. The losers are the little guys. So much for ‘Compassionate Conservatism’, and where is Business Secretary Vince Cable, who supported SOS UK in the first place?”
Save Our Sound UK has led the charge for sufficient PMSE compensation. Find out more about its ongoing campaign at www.saveoursounduk.com.