Frequencies

Terms and conditions for the use of wireless spectrum by ancillary audio equipment for services ancillary to programme-making and broadcasting.

26 May 2011

Audio equipment used for services ancillary to programme-making and broadcasting include wireless microphones and wireless audio equipment that enable audio return channels and talkback links. They are used chiefly by television and live event industry professionals, and are employed on a daily basis on television, on stage and in the music and film industry (concerts, musicals, operas, political and sporting events, game shows, etc.).

The terms and conditions governing the use of this equipment is being harmonised at the European level, through recommendations established by the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT):
- recommendation ERC/REC 25-10 on frequency ranges for the use of temporary terrestrial audio and video links for services ancillary to programme making (SAP) and broadcasting (SAB);
- recommendation ERC/REC 70-03 relating to the use of Short Range Devices (SRD).

These recommendations are to be transposed into French law.

In accordance with Articles L 36.6 (Par. 3) and L-42 of the French postal and electronic communications code, CPCE (Code des postes and des communications électroniques), the Electronic communications and regulatory authority, ARCEP, is tasked with setting the terms and conditions governing the use of wireless spectrum, and notably the instances in which the use of spectrum requires an individual licence. These decisions are published in the Official Journal (Journal officiel") after having been approved by a decree issued by the minister responsible for electronic communications.

Furthermore, in accordance with Paragraph 6 of CPCE Article L 36-7, ARCEP assigns operators and users the spectrum they need to operate their business under the terms stipulated in Article L. 42-1, and ensures its proper use.

Below is a list of the frequency bands that can be used by this equipment, along with a link to the ARCEP decisions (in French), specifying the terms and conditions governing the use of these frequencies.

VHF band

Decisions No. 2010-0849 and No. 2010-0850 allow the 174-223 MHz frequency band to be used by ancillary audio equipment for programme-making and broadcasting with a general authorisation - in other words, not requiring an individual licence - provided the user complies with the technical terms and conditions in force.
Audio equipment employed for services ancillary to programme-making and broadcasting use the 174-223 MHz in a secondary fashion. They must not cause any interference that would be detrimental to primary radio services, and cannot lay claim to any protection against harmful interference caused by primary radio services. In particular, they must ensure the protection of digital terrestrial radio (DTR) services licensed by the French Broadcasting Authority, CSA (Conseil supérieur de audiovisuel).

UHF band

Decisions No. 99-0781, 99-0782, 00-0205 and 2010-0851 allow the 470-830 MHz frequency band to be used by ancillary audio equipment for programme-making and broadcasting with a general authorisation - in other words, not requiring an individual licence - provided the user complies with the technical terms and conditions in force.

It should also be mentioned that the European Commission adopted Decision No. 2010/267/EU, dated 6 May 2010, on harmonised technical conditions of use in the 790-862 MHz frequency band for terrestrial systems capable of providing electronic communications services in the European Union, which defines a harmonised frequency plan with 2 x 30 MHz in frequency division duplexing (FDD) mode.
As part of the process of implementing this European decision, blocks of 791-821 MHz and 832-862 MHz band spectrum will therefore be allocated to enable the development of ultra high-speed mobile systems, starting on 1st December 2011 - after which time ancillary broadcasting equipment will no longer be authorised to use the 790-821 MHz frequency band.
Audio equipment employed for services ancillary to programme-making and broadcasting use the 174-223 MHz in a secondary fashion. They must not cause any interference that would be detrimental to primary radio services, and cannot lay claim to any protection against harmful interference caused by primary radio services. In particular, they must ensure the protection of digital terrestrial radio (DTR) services licensed by the French Broadcasting Authority, CSA (Conseil supérieur de audiovisuel). Further information on the use of the 470-830 MHz band for DTR can be found on the CSA website:

DTT coverage
http://www.csa.fr/TV_numerique/television_couverture.php

Frequency plan for the planned stations
http://www.csa.fr/upload/TNT/Synthese_plans-de-frequences.xls

ARCEP and CSA - the latter of which is responsible for allocating primary spectrum for the broadcasting service - are currently preparing to bring changes to the regulatory framework to:

  • take into account the provisions contained in the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) recommendation ERC/REC 70-03 relating to the use of Short Range Devices (SRD), and particularly its Annex 10 setting the terms and conditions for use of audio equipment for services ancillary to programme-making and broadcasting in the 790 MHz and 821 MHz bands and between 830 and 832 MHz;

  • provide greater capacity and flexibility of use for audio equipment used in services ancillary to programme-making and broadcasting by allowing all professional users to access all available spectrum in the 470-790 MHz and 821-832 MHz frequency bands.

1785-1800 MHz band

ARCEP has submitted a decision authorising audio equipment used in services ancillary to programme-making to employ the 1785-1800 MHz frequency band, in accordance with the provisions contained in CEPT recommendation ERC/REC/70-03 relating to the use of short range devices, and particularly its Annex 10, to the Minister responsible for electronic communications for approval. This decision will come into effect once the Minister's approval is published in the Official Journal.

Temporary authorisations

To satisfy certain specific needs, ARCEP may issue authorisations for the temporary use of frequencies. These authorisations are valid for a maximum two months.
Applications must be submitted to the National Frequency Agency, ANFr, which is responsible for investigating these requests on behalf of ARCEP:
http://www.anfr.fr/fr/autorisations-certificats/reseaux-independants/auf-temporaire.html


Linked documents

SmileyRecommendation ERC/REC 25-10 (pdf - 36 Ko) on frequency ranges for the use of temporary terrestrial audio and video links for services ancillary to programme making (SAP) and broadcasting (SAB) Smiley

SmileyRecommendation ERC/REC 70-03 (pdf - 701 Ko) relating to the use of Short Range Devices (SRD) Smiley

Smiley ARCEP Decisions n° 99-0781 (pdf - 24 Ko), n° 99-0782 (pdf - 21 Ko), n° 00-0205 (pdf - 18.84 Ko), n° 2010-0849 (pdf - 97 Ko), n° 2010-0850 (pdf - 43 Ko) and n° 2010-0851 (pdf - 97 Ko) (in French only - ) Smiley