Outrage as Ofcom contractor sells taxpayer-funded equipment into 'cleared' spectrum
15 September 2011
UK - It emerged yesterday that the company appointed by Ofcom to make way for new 4G services in the 800MHz band is selling equipment into the spectrum which taxpayers paid them to clear.
In 2009 Ofcom announced that wireless microphone users would be evicted from the 800MHz band to make way for new mobile broadband services. Following an industry campaign, Save Our Sound UK, which pointed out the damage being done to the British entertainment industry, the UK Government agreed to fund part of the clearance of the band. To qualify for taxpayer funding, Channel 69 equipment had to be surrendered.
This equipment is now being resold back into the band which taxpayers paid to remove it from, by the scheme's administrator - Equiniti. A significant amount of equipment has already been sold, and Equiniti is now gearing up its operations to release up to 80,000 channels for use in UK spectrum. Only a fraction of the profit from the sale is going to the taxpayer who financed the scheme - the rest goes directly to Equiniti.
The British Entertainment Industry Radio Group (BEIRG) has repeatedly warned Ofcom about the damage that resale of this equipment could cause to manufacturers, wireless microphone users, and taxpayers. An influx of under-priced equipment, which will not be licensable in just over a year, will grossly distort the UK microphone sale and hire market - and will go against the very purpose of the taxpayer funded scheme.
BEIRG is also concerned that Equiniti's actions may ultimately affect the attractiveness of the 800MHz band to mobile broadband companies. The price they are willing to pay in next year's 4G auctions could be considerably reduced.
If this resale continues UK taxpayers will end up paying for this scheme twice over - once in the original funding scheme (including the fee paid by Ofcom to Equiniti), and again in the reduced price mobile companies pay for 4G spectrum auction.
Following a meeting with Equiniti at the PLASA Show in London yesterday (Wednesday 14 September) Ron Bonner, from PLASA and the BEIRG Steering Committee, stated: "Equiniti has been paid from our taxes, through Ofcom, to administer the PMSE funding scheme. Equiniti has not paid for the equipment - the public paid for it. Equiniti now wants to sell the equipment on for profit, whilst damaging microphone manufacturers' and the taxpayers' chance of getting the highest price for the 800MHz band when it is auctioned next year. Ofcom needs to step in now to stop this sale, and ensure that the original purpose of the scheme is not undermined by the re-release of surrendered equipment into UK spectrum."
Related Stories from LSi Online
21 March 2013
UK - Star Events Group was recently back in Trafalgar Square, this time with their 13m x 12m Alpha mobile stage to celebrate the Maslenitsa and St. Patrick's Day festivities. The weekend kicked off on Saturday 16 ... More >>
5 February 2013
Keeping Clean - London's National Theatre is one of four historic sites to receive funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for "wash and brush up" restoration work. It has been granted £2.5m to help enhance the ... More >>
29 October 2012
UK - The Arena Group has begun the installation of a temporary building that will host a variety of major indoor events throughout 2013 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland as it is named UK City of Culture, October 2012. ... More >>
25 September 2012
End of An Era - EU and US regulators have approved the takeover of UK music firm EMI by Universal Music, but it must sell some of the firm's most valuable labels. The European Commission said Universal would have to ... More >>
28 February 2012
UK - Chaos Visual Productions worked with the fashion glitterati, providing the LED screens and catwalk projection and effects for this years' London Fashion Week, and London Fashion Weekend, at Somerset House. The 4.... More >>
BVE Expo 2014 (25-27 February 2014)
BVE Expo 2014 (25-27 February 2014)
Page 70: with the reinvented Logic System Pro Audio but its becoming clear that the aims and ambitions of the man who gave
Page 5: Performer • Theatre Once Conference Showlight • Profiles ClearCom and SH Theatrical • Venue Music Hall Dubai
Page 62: is a massive advantage The Vipers are clearly a replacement workhorse and a family of fixtures
Page 20: War of the Worlds The message of intent was clear LSLive has become far more ambitious in the scope
Page 113: Classifieds Clay Paky ClearCom Creative Technology db audiotechnik DiGiCo Doughty Elation
Page 46: that have shaped the industry I have a very clear memory of the first time I noticed performance lighting
Page 106: views of the LED module This is a sealed unit and is clearly designed to be replaced as a single unit
Page 78: and back covers clearly readable by the visitors below Grater The previous lighting designer had stepped
Page 6: to see their market share stripped away The importance of clear effective and affordable legal protection
Page 2: and theatres consistently delivering clear precise and incredibly intelligible sound Credentials include long