The events sector is up in arms! And everyone wishing to continue to see stage- and TV-shows, sports events and news coverage – live, on TV or on the internet – should be too, because the recent frequency auction done by the German government and Federal Network Agency affects us all. Each and every German citizen! And in the future also each and every European citizen.
The frequencies that were under the hammer in May/June 2015 are currently used by radio microphones and other wireless production facilities. Auctioning of the “Digital Dividend 2” (as it is referred to in specialist circles) will mean everyone working with microphones, in front of the camera and in the studio, such as show hosts, actors, sports reporters, technical staff and all the on-stage and behind-the-scenes professionals we know and love, will have to give them up.
What precisely is going to happen to such people, nobody knows yet! The German government appears to have washed its hands of them and has put forward no alternative frequencies. By one-sidedly promoting the case for mobile network operators and allocating frequencies for the future expansion of the broadband mobile phone network, the government is completely on the wrong track. Do we really want to live in a world where people with smartphones and tablets are able to enjoy rapid internet access, whilst sports and cultural events, shows and, indeed, any form of live reporting will no longer function as we know it today? And, even with our faster data transmission rates, what exactly will there be for us to watch or download on the internet in the future? What is particularly annoying is the fact that, only in a very few exceptional cases, do the frequencies being auctioned actually help to make the internet faster.
Politicians with their lack of specialist knowledge are simply not able to grasp the seriousness of the situation, either for the events sector, the ordinary man in the street or press reporting in general. And certainly not for the entire cultural and creative industries, which provide hundreds of thousands of jobs in Germany alone. German politicians and the Federal Network Agency need a wake-up call, because their actions could be damaging to society as a whole!
What we are saying is: broadband expansion is important. However, there are two things to be looked at here: high-speed internet AND the professional production of programmes and events using radio technology1! Mobile network operators must use their current frequencies more efficiently. No further frequency auctions should be carried out at the expense of our culture, education and press freedom or, for that matter, our sport and entertainment. The users of radio microphones and other wireless production facilities must be given sufficient alternative frequencies to replace the lost frequencies and these should be guaranteed long-term. Only by doing so, will the users of wireless production facilities be able to continue working for the benefit of us all.
1 = English “Programme Making and Special Events”, PMSE