Ofcom has published its long awaited response to the consultation on the 700MHz compensation scheme. The deadline for responding to the proposed rate card is 20 September or soon after. The deadline to respond to the overall Statement and Consultation is 4th October.
The British Entertainment Industry Radio Group (BEIRG) – an independent and non-profitmaking association, working for the benefit of all those who use radio spectrum – has released the following statement:
“The original proposals [from Ofcom] fell short, and since submitting our consultation response, BEIRG has been lobbying hard to ensure that PMSE is treated fairly. Our contact with Ofcom, DCMS and Treasury has been frequent and we have a host of new supporters in Parliament. BEIRG has briefed the Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP Culture spokesmen who have been vocal in their backing for our campaign. BEIRG would like to thank the UK Government, Ofcom and those from the PMSE community and beyond who have worked so hard to achieve this positive outcome.
“On funding, the minimum amount a user will receive is 60% of the estimated replacement cost for a piece of equipment. This was originally set at 47%, a wholly unacceptable figure. Equipment modification will be funded – if not more expensive than replacement. Additionally, Ofcom have agreed to include ancillary equipment in the scheme – this was not included in the original proposals.
“Regarding eligibility, the criteria to have at least 50% of the tuning range of a given piece of equipment in the 700 MHz band in order for the equipment to be eligible for compensation has been relaxed to requiring that only some of the tuning range needs be in the 700 MHz band.
“The final change is that equipment purchased before 23rd August 2018 is now eligible, previously it was 17th October 2016. Ofcom understands that companies could not stop purchasing equipment to use in 700MHz whilst the process of moving out of the band started and therefore the window had to be much greater.
“Ofcom recognises that additional costs will place a burden on stakeholders and are consulting on a 5% mark up to payments made to claimants. This closes on 4th October 2018. BEIRG will be submitting a response to this.
“Ofcom is seeking comments on its proposed rate card which can be found here. This is a very short cut-off date and in our meeting with Ofcom we will be requesting an extension. Some pieces of equipment are not covered in the document, which we will be highlighting.
“BEIRG’s lobbying efforts since submitting our repsonses to Ofcom have paid off – the original proposals fell way short of the mark and have been substantially altered. The work continues on the next two consultations to ensure as fair a deal as possible for PMSE users.”