I got a reply if a little corporate generic rather than personal from Peter Madry to my original email here:
Thank you for your email, which I have been asked to respond to. I am very sorry for the excessive delay in doing so.
We note your comments, but I am afraid it would not be appropriate to comment in detail on your points at this stage. As part of our digital dividend review (DDR), Ofcom is currently considering the options for the future use of the transmission spectrum which will be released as a result of digital switchover in the UK, when analogue TV services will be switched off. There are many potential applications for this spectrum, one of which is terrestrial high definition television. Each potential application has its own costs, complexities, and benefits (both to the UK economy and to society at large). One of our regulatory principles is that, in general, the most efficient use of spectrum is likely to be achieved by allocating it using market mechanisms, and that we should seek to liberalise access to spectrum on this basis. Put simply, we do not believe that Ofcom, as the regulator, can know the ‘best’ use for a particular piece of spectrum.
A summary of our DDR proposals is available on our website at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/ddr/summary/, and high definition HDTV is discussed in more detail in the full consultation document at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/ddr/ddrmain.pdf (particularly section 4.24 onwards and 6.133 onwards).
The first phase of public consultation on the DDR was carried out earlier this year, and last week we announced that we will be carrying out further qualitative and quantitative market research on the various possible uses of the digital dividend spectrum. We will issue further proposals during the coming months, which will also be available on our website.
I would also stress that the DDR in no way rules out the possibility of HD services being broadcast on Freeview: While the initial consultation document does not propose to reserve spectrum exclusively for HD broadcasting, we do propose to package the available spectrum in such a way that it could be used for TV services (whether these be high definition or standard definition). Therefore the broadcasters would be free to seek access to this spectrum in the same way that any other potential user would be. Furthermore, a direct consequence of digital switchover is that the capacity of the existing six Freeview multiplexes will increase, and we believe that a number of HD channels could be accommodated on the existing six Freeview multiplexes without requiring additional spectrum to be reserved.
we Your comments have been noted, and I will address the points where it is appropriate to do so.
:: Peter Madry
Senior Associate Technical Advisor
Broadcast Technical Policy
020 7783 4325
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 9HA
020 7981 3000