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Ofcom compensation a ‘great improvement’

Production News
19 September 2018

FOLLOWING ITS decision to clear the 700MHz band of radio spectrum for mobile phone use by May 2020 (see Festival, issue 32), government regulator Ofcom has announced a compensation scheme for the live music and broadcasting industries.

The scheme will cover companies in the sector known as Programme Making and Special Event (PMSE) users whose equipment is put out of action by the switch.

The band is widely used by festivals, tours and concert productions for radio communications, microphone and monitor systems.

From 2020 they will be restricted to the 470 to 703 MHz band which they must share with the digital television sector.

In a tariff covering nearly 1,000 products by 12 manufacturers, a sample of the compensation offered includes £1,132.50 for an AKG wireless speaker WLS 6060/8060 with an estimated replacement cost (ERC) of £1,887.50, £870 for a Shure Handheld Transmitter AXT200/KSM9HS (ERC £1,450) or £249.50 for a Sennheiser Set ew172 (ERC £415.83).

Ofcom also announced further consultation with stakeholders on its approach for funding additional costs incurred by PMSE equipment holders through participating in the funding scheme with a deadline for responses of 4 October 2018.

Tuomo Tolomen, director of Shure Distribution UK and member of the British Entertainment Industry Radio Group (BEIRG), which has been campaigning for affected concert and broadcasting suppliers, says, “The Ofcom announcement represents a great improvement on the original terms.

“The minimum amount a user will receive is 60 per cent of the ERC, originally set at 47 per cent. Equipment modification will also be funded.”

Tolomen is pleased that equipment purchased up to 23 August 2018 will be eligible for compensation, as opposed to the previous date of 17 October 2016.

Still to be decided is a possible five per cent compensation mark-up for affected businesses. “BEIRG will be submitting a response to this,” says Tolomen.

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