Update on 700MHz clearance for wireless microphones and IEM systems.

Following our article in May when we discussed the clearance of the 700MHz band, we have put together this update based on the latest information published by Ofcom.

The proposal is still in consultation and please refer to the original document for a fuller explanation but we have listed the key points below. Ofcom plans to publish an outcome of the consultation with a full statement in November 2018.

TL;DR: The government has agreed to fund grants to support PMSE equipment owners that will need to stop using the 700MHz band earlier than expected and Ofcom will design and run the scheme that distributes the funds. There will be specific eligibility criteria that must be met be people looking to claim the funding and Ofcom are currently looking for input from stakeholders on their proposed approach to funding. Comments can be made by emailing UHFSI@ofcom.org.uk by 20th September 2018.

What funding will be available?

In summary, PMSE equipment owners will be eligible for funding designed to cover losses that they incur as a result of Ofcom’s decision to bring forward clearance of the 700MHz band before September 2021.

The amount of funding available will be determined by a rate card and Ofcom have published a provisional version here but stakeholders will receive at least 60% of the estimated replacement cost of their equipment but the actual amount will be determined by the age of the equipment.

Ofcom are asking stakeholders to submit additions and corrections by 20th September 2018 at UHFSI@ofcom.org.uk. Any that are accepted will be included in the final version of the rate card which will be available from the point at which registration for the funding scheme opens.

Ofcom are also asking for stakeholder input into funding to cover any additional costs(e.g. project management, administration etc) which they are currently proposing should be accounted for by a 5% mark-up applied to the payment a claimant receives. The consultation period on this will close on 4th October 2018 for this and responses can be submitted using the form here.

If the cost of a modification to equipment is not more expensive than the funding that would otherwise be available, then equipment may be modified instead.

What if I am not VAT registered?

20% in additional funding will be paid to claimants who are not VAT registered recognising the fact that that they will not be able to offset or reclaim VAT on equipment or services that they purchase.

Eligibility Criteria

You must have either held a licence in the 700 MHz band between 17 October 2014 and 23 August 2018 or must be able to produce verifiable evidence that your business is based on hiring out PMSE equipment (rather than using it) and therefore don’t require a license.

  • You can only claim for equipment that belongs to you.
  • Equipment being claimed for must be in working order.
  • Equipment being claimed for must have been purchased before 23 August 2018.
  • Equipment being claimed for must have some of its tuning range in the 700Mhz band.

Ancillary equipment will be eligible, provided it meets the other appropriate eligibility requirements of the scheme. For example, ancillary equipment with a tuning range, such as an antenna, must have at least some of its tuning range in the 700 MHz band.

What evidence will I need to provide in order to claim funding from the scheme?

You will have to provide evidence that you own the equipment. This will mean providing one or more of the following:

  • receipts of purchase for equipment
  • certified asset register entries to identify equipment and/or when equipment was acquired
  • relevant insurance documentation.

In addition, if you didn’t hold a license in the 700MHz band between 17th October 2014 and 23rd August 2018, you will need to produce verifiable evidence that your business is based on hiring out equipment rather than using it and therefore does not require a license. Examples of evidence include:

  • Rental agreements, orders, invoices, or contracts;
  • Company documentation (e.g. memorandum and articles of association setting out the objects of the company)
  • Marketing materials (e.g. brochures, advertising, directory listings)

If claiming for modifications, you will need to provide evidence that the modifications have taken place.

Do you still have questions?

If you have any questions about the changes, or would like a quote for an equipment upgrade, feel free to get in touch with Al Mouat in our sales department who will be happy to help at sales@adlib.co.uk or 0151 486 2213.