Jordan Brown

What is the 2012 digital switchover?

The 2012 digital switchover is a government policy that will see all analogue TV switched over to digital. This means that almost everybody will be able to recieve digital television through an aerial - in the process receiving more channels, interactivity and image stability.

The switchover to digital TV means that there will be less broadcast space used - allowing more room for services such as wireless broadband, local TV and High Definition TV channels.

Why does the DSO affect wireless microphone users?

The current situation
If you’ve bought a wireless mic in the past ten years in the UK, you’ve been using it along the 800MHz broadcast band - more than likely using it on either TV channel 69 or 70.
Channel 70 is licence-free nationwide and typically allows you to use a maximum of 2-3 units together at any given time. The drawback to this has been that others in your area may already be using the channel – meaning that there’s a higher risk of interference.

Similarly, Channel 69 requires a shared license and allows up to 12 users along the channel – therefore there’s less chance of interference again.
Alternatively, users have been able to pay a license fee to use either a channel or a frequency along the 800MHz band, thus offering an even lower risk of interference.

How does the DSO affect this?
After the DSO, the 800MHz broadcast band will no longer be used for TV broadcast as Ofcom is clearing the band TV channels 61-69 in order to match the European spectrum. These channels will be allocated to next-generation mobile broadband services. As such, wireless mic users will have to use other channels and frequencies.

What changes will be made?
Channel 70 will remain licence free and will not be affected by the DSO. Channel 38 will replace Channel 69 and will be available for use for those that have purchased a shared licence. Channels 21-30 and 39-60 will be available provided that you've purchased a coordinated licence from JFMG.

Something to bear in mind with regards to Channel 70

While Channel 70 is (and will remain) licence-free, it’s not recommended for professional users. Ofcom is currently assessing whether or not there will be an increased risk of harmful interference to wireless microphones using the channel once mobile services occupy the 800MHz band.

We will endeavour to make more information available once Ofcom has completed their investigation into the subject.

How much does a licence cost and where can I buy one?

Licences must be purchased from JFMG.
If purchasing them online from then they cost £75 for one year or £135 for two years.
If purchased in writing the cost is £85 and £155 respectively.

For coordinated licences, determining a fixed price is dependent on several factors. A guide price is roughly double per licensed channel. Please refer to the JFMG website for more details. For more information on coordinated licences, a PDF from JFMG is available here.

If you're interested in purchasing multiple licences, then get in touch with your local GV Multi-media branch as potential discounts may be available.

For more information on clearing the 800mhz band, a detailed report from Ofcom can be found here.

What frequencies will be affected?












Right click > Save image as to see full size version