Ofcom to auction digital switchover spectrum in 09
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's media regulator Ofcom said on Thursday it would conduct an auction for the highly sought-after radio spectrum that will be freed up through the digital television switchover.
The "digital dividend" spectrum is in the UHF band currently used by the terrestrial television broadcasters.
Ofcom said the overall benefit from the use of the digital dividend was estimated to be between 5 billion pounds ($10.2 billion) to 10 billion pounds of added benefit to the economy over 20 years.
"To maximize these benefits, Ofcom plans to auction most of the digital dividend in 2009, offering licenses that allow users to decide the technology and service, and that can be traded after award," it said in a statement.
Ofcom said transmissions in this band covered large geographical areas with relatively few transmitters, and penetrated buildings well.
"This makes the digital dividend the highest quality spectrum likely to be released in the UK in the next 10 or 20 years," it said.
It will be suitable for a wide range of uses including ultra-fast wireless broadband services, mobile television, local television and more digital terrestrial television channels in either standard or high-definition.
(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by David Holmes)