Dodging Interference to Avoid a Digital Deficit

Dodging Interference to Avoid a Digital Deficit
28/10/2009 Carol Ward

EU announcement on digital switchover elicits a call from industry for further

Member State inspection of newly identified interference for millions
(Brussels, 28 October 2009): Cable Europe has issued a call to Member States to carefully
examine the Digital Dividend recommendation released by the European Commissioner today
which lays out new uses for European spectrum that will be freed up in 2012 when analog
television is switched off and re-used for new services. The industry association for broadband
internet, television and telephony has signaled a call for action on the day of the European
Commission’s announcements to ensure Member State decision makers and technology
authorities carefully assess the risks for the EU consumer posed by interference.

“Today’s announcement marks a new era in connectivity for Europe. However, we have to be
clear about the risks that are encountered by using new spectrum in the space of in-home
consumer equipment found in millions of European homes that have experienced interference
in laboratory testing carried out in EU countries including Austria, Germany and the United
Kingdom,” says Cable Europe Managing Director, Caroline Van Weede. “We’ve been in contact
with the Commission on this and understand the need for moving closer to a single digital
market and want to do our part to best help avoid any unnecessary fragmentation of EU rules
especially for spectrum policy. Of course, spectrum is a Member State issue and the
Commission’s role in seeking to guide Member States is an important one. As this EU issue
goes national, we are calling for careful national attention to this newly identified interference
so that January 1st 2012 will be a cause for celebration rather than frustration.”

In examining the Digital Dividend, Cable Europe has identified potential negative impact on
consumer equipment and in-home network (TV and internet) that is caused directly by the
release of spectrum between 790-862MHz for new mobile services. The discovery of this
interference was made through laboratory testing carried out by Cable Europe members, as
well as Cable Europe Labs and external independent testing.

“The interference issue is something that is new but we signaled it as soon as we were sure it
was problematic so that we could quickly change from messenger to solution seeker on this,”
says Cable Europe Labs Managing Director, Malcolm Taylor. “We work so closely with the
vendor community and other equipment manufacturers that this issue is already being looked
at. Unfortunately this is not a problem limited to cable or its networks and will require a
significant amount of further inspection at Member State level. The combination of both the
real cost and opportunity cost of this interference makes a clear case for full impact analyses
before any further decisions are made by national governments.”
Interference identified in EU consumer equipment includes:

  • TV sets
  • Cable broadband modemsSet Top Boxes
  • PMSE (audio equipment used in live performances)
  • Personal video recorders
  • In-house wiring
  • Gaming Consoles

 

Cable Europe has shared information on this potential interference with relevant EU and
Member State authorities along with a request that the problems for TV viewers and
broadband internet users are fully investigated prior to the allocation and auctions of the
digital dividend frequencies to new usage such as new generation mobile services.