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Theatres, music venues, sports grounds, and voluntary organisations will avoid massive bills for changing over their radio microphone equipment after a successful intervention by Peter Luff, MP for Mid Worcestershire.

The MP says that the Government have delivered a “landmark victory” for the programme-making and special events (PMSE) sector and should be congratulated for their commitment to fund the costs of changing equipment during the imminent spectrum reallocation process, following on from Digital Switchover of TV services.

Peter has campaigned for a long time to ensure that PMSE users of radio microphones will have access to the right spectrum and will not be financially crippled by the need to change their kit after Switchover.

Peter’s comments come after the Government’s publication of their long-awaited Digital Britain report yesterday (Tuesday). Buried among the headline-grabbing policies announced in that document was the following:

“The Government is committed to the timely release of 800 spectrum and will work with Ofcom to understand and meet the technical challenges. It has already endorsed Ofcom’s proposal setting out its plans to clear channels 61, 62 and 69. The Government will facilitate this re-planning and will meet the costs incurred by broadcasters and PMSE users as a result of these changes.”

Peter immediately welcomed this measure, telling the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport in the House of Commons:

“I say a provisional thank you to the Secretary of State for what appears to be a commitment—buried deep in the document—to fund the cost of the programme-making and special events sectors during the spectrum reallocation process. I am grateful for that.”

Commenting later Peter said:

“Lord Carter, the minister responsible for the Digital Britain report, in particular has shown he is prepared to listen to the needs of the PMSE community and I am extremely grateful for his willingness to meet with me and them to discuss their worries. Thousands of organisations will now avoid big bills.

“More details about how the scheme will work are still needed, but by giving this strong commitment to PMSE users the Government have allayed many fears and deserve our thanks.”

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