FREE-TO-AIR | FREE TO CREATE | FREE TO GROW
OCTOBER 22 2015 13:45 – 5:00 PM
THE HOTEL | 27th FLOOR | 38 BOULEVARD DE WATERLOO | BRUSSELS 1000
Pascal Lamy, Chairman of the High Level Group, and author of the report on the future use of the UHF band, and EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger launched a discussion with leading employer, worker and citizen groups on the link between spectrum policy, European creation and a European growth agenda for creative and cultural industries.
Subjective moderator notes
Nathalie Steiwer, Moderator (link to biography)
“Where do they all find the time?!” wonders Kaja Kallas, rapporteur of the European Parliament on the new digital reform of the EU, during the Conference "FREE-TO-AIR | FREE TO CREATE | FREE TO GROW" organised by the Wider Spectrum Group in Brussels, last October 22nd.
But they do : 250 million Europeans watch terrestrial television and spend more than two or three hours on radio.
A reminder that jobs, consumer and citizen needs should be at the centre of any debate on spectrum allocation, as a participant from the public said during the conference.
Spectrum is necessary to reach the public everywhere, any time; even in case of emergency, whether to transmit live performances or to carry creative programmes. The feeling of urgency was tangible during the debate, as availability of those frequencies is under stress and testing Europe’s audiovisual socio-economic model.
During that discussion which I had the pleasure to moderate, the words floating in the air were “coexistence”, as in “coexistence between online and on-air contents” to answer public demands, but also “certainty” as in “legal certainty”, to secure long-term investments. In that sense, the idea of “flexibility” between different models, proposed by mobile operators, was unappealing for most of the participants as they see it as a means for further “land grabs.”
Günther Oettinger, the European Commissioner for digital economy and society, was reassuring. He promised for 2016, a proposal that will “safeguard the EU model” of creativity and financing of the audiovisual sector.
The “golden band” of 700 MHz will be attributed to broadband and internet of things before the biding date of 2020, but the band below will be secured until 2030 for those “250 million Europeans looking at Digital terrestrial television,” he said.
Enough to ensure a “free-to-air, free to create, free to grow” audiovisual ecosystem ? That depends pretty much on the capacity of EU countries to stay united during and after the World Radiocommunication Conference starting November 2nd in Geneva.
And the decision does not belong solely to the telecoms or the cultural ministers. As Pascal Lamy, Chairman of the High Level Group and author of a 2014 report on the future of the UHF band said : “there is an elephant in the room”, and that is “that DTT is for free and spectrum is for money”. In the end, the “finance ministers take the allocation decisions”. Bringing several participants to wonder where our EU ideals of equal access, cultural diversity and media plurality stand in relation to this financial imperative. Günther Oettinger promised to find the time to deliver the appropriate balance.
Grégoire Polad: Coordinator, Wider Spectrum Group
Keynote Opening Speeches
Pascal Lamy : President emeritus, Jacques Delors Institute, former Director-General of the WTO, former EU Commissioner for Trade and author of the Lamy report on the future use of the UHF band
Günther H. Oettinger : EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society
Panel I - The Lamy Report one year on – spectrum at the heart of a future proof audiovisual sector moderated by Nathalie Steiwer
Alan March : co-President, Association of Professional Wireless Production Technologies
Gina Nieri : Executive Board Member, Mediaset
Olivier Huart : CEO TDF, Chairman of Broadcast Networks Europe
Ingrid Deltenre : Director General, European Broadcasting Union
Jonathan Thompson : CEO, Digital UK
Javier Domínguez : Head of Spectrum Policy and Regulatory Intelligence, Telefónica, S.A.
Spectrum & the Parliament’s Digital Single Market Report
Kaja Kallas: MEP, co-Rapporteur, ITRE/IMCO Report on Towards a DSM Act
Panel II - Spectrum, a core driver for cultural diversity, jobs and growth moderated by Nathalie Steiwer
Stefan Möller : President, Association of European Radios ; CEO, RadioMedia
Mogens Blicher Bjerregård : President, European Federation of Journalists
William Maunier : President, UNI-MEI Europe
Colin Browne : Chairman, Voice of the Listener and Viewer
Olivier Mille : Producer, European Coordination of Independent Producers
Anthony Whelan : Director DG CONNECT – Electronic Communications Networks & Service
Videos | Pictures
Note to viewer: for optimal sound quality we recommend to view the following videos with earphones.