British telecoms regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation on a new grant scheme designed to support Programme Making & Special Events (PMSE) equipment owners that have to vacate the 700MHz band earlier than expected. Previously, in October 2016, the regulator published a spectrum management decision in which it said it would work towards accelerating a 700MHz clearance programme by 18 months and releasing the spectrum for use for mobile services in May 2020, instead of September 2021. As a result, it served notice on PMSE users that they would no longer have access to spectrum in the aforementioned band from 1 May 2020.
Now, the UK government has decided to fund a grant scheme to support those PMSE equipment owners that have to vacate the 700MHz band earlier than expected, with Ofcom having agreed to design and run the scheme to disburse the funds. The consultation document published by Ofcom sets out its conclusions on the eligibility criteria to be met by claimants and the principles underpinning the rate card. It also seeks the views of stakeholders on the approach to funding additional costs incurred by PMSE equipment owners through participating in the funding scheme. Submissions to the consultation are being accepted until 4 October 2018.