Ofcom completes 700MHz clearance programme

Ofcom has finished its work on the largest transmission project since digital switchover.

The clearance of the 700MHz band was needed to create space for mobile broadband services including both 4G and 5G. It officially began in 2017, although planning had been underway since 2012.

Also involved in the project was Arqiva, the DCMS, Digital UK and Freeview and DMSL.

The need to clear the band, while at the same time maintaining the breadth of TV services viewers had come to expect from the Freeview digital terrestrial service, meant that some retuning was required by viewers as channels changed their frequency or multiplex.

A support phone line, website and online videos were available for people who had difficulties.

There was also the need to negotiate with neighbouring countries, also embarking on similar projects, to ensure no co-channel interference was created.

The much-delayed auction of the 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz radio spectrum bands is now slated to open for bidding in January 2021.

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