30.07.10

UK Government lets down events industry

AUTHOR: Inavate

The UK’s new government has dealt a massive blow to the country’s live events industry, offering a compensation package that will only encompass six per cent of the radio frequencies it is clearing for mobile network operators.

Minister for the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey, indicated that the Government’s compensation package to those being evicted from the 800MHz spectrum would only encompass six per cent of the frequencies being cleared.

The package covers channel 69, but UK campaign organisation, Save Our Sound, claims the Government has exploited technicalities to avoid paying out to those high-end users that tune to channels 31-37 and 61-68. These are channels that are also being cleared. The group says these additional channels are needed to produce large-scale events like the Olympics.

A spokesman for SOS UK said the Government’s actions amounted to an “injustice” and added: “This shows that the Minister simply does not understand how the Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) sector works.”

In its defence the Coalition Government claims that notice of eviction was given. However, SOS UK has hit back claiming the authorities have continually ignored demands for precise alternatives. The body adds that even now details of alternatives have not been published.

The organisation argues that replacement equipment cannot be bought when it is not clear what frequencies it can operate on and accuses the Government of simply lining its pockets with mobile network operators’ cash from the radio spectrum auctions.

SOS UK is currently awaiting further details from Ofcom but it concluded its stinging tirade with: “The winners are the spectrum-greedy behemoth corporations and the Government. The losers are the little guys. So much for ‘Compassionate Conservatism’, and where is Business Secretary Vince Cable who supported SOS UK in the first place?”