Culture in 2024: an invigorating outlook from France

Culture in 2024: an invigorating outlook from France

Culture in 2024: an invigorating outlook from France 1920 1056 SOS - Save our Spectrum

At the dawn of 2024, things look grim in many parts of the world torn by appalling, never-ending wars and massacres. However, turn your eyes to culture and the view starts to look up.

The WRC-23 went well indeed for cultural frequencies. Although details will only settle for good once the conclusions are formally published by the ITU later this year, the advocacy for ‘No Change’ in the 470-694 MHz band won the day in Dubai: broadcasting will remain the sole primary user of this part of the spectrum; the PMSE sector (Programme Making Special Events) will remain a secondary user in the TV UHF band for the whole gamut of its wireless production equipment.

These decisions will not be reviewed until WRC-31.

Accordingly, International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), which have displaced broadcasting and PMSE twice as a result of the so-called ‘digital dividends’, will not intrude de facto into the 470-694 MHz band before 2034 or 2035, and then only from 614 MHz upwards. This is no small victory for a country like France that has always championed European culture, both the one inherited from a rich, longstanding legacy and that which is blossoming before our eyes day in, day out, thanks to digital tools that spur artists to create ad infinitum and with the benefits of boundless flexibility.

In another piece of uplifting news, Paris is getting ready to host the Olympic Games in July-August 2024.

This major event puts the WRC-23 accomplishments in a particularly auspicious light. As a matter of fact, wireless connectivity and devices such as microphones and headsets will be instrumental to the success of the games themselves as well as to that of the myriad events associated with them. Interference will not be an option during this rapid fire of highwire acts happening all over the place, with the entire world watching.

If the 470-694 MHz had been put on shaky grounds by the WRC-23, earlier commitments to the current allocation might have been weakened and one could legitimately worry about possible illegal intrusion into this coveted band during the Games. The related WRC-23 decision dispels any fear in this respect, making for smooth sailing while France will be addressing this particular challenge. Whatever glitch might happen throughout this unparalleled stress-test will be instantly turned into ‘lessons to learn’ by technology experts.

This is not to downplay the role of the new Minister for Culture, Rachida Dati.

Although Minister Dati starts her new mission at a time when agriculture has crowded culture out of the French headlines, she is known for her political savvy; in addition, she never let an opportunity for a good fight unattended throughout her career. Accordingly, whatever priority matters in the cultural field is in a safe pair of hands, able to play out with considerable clout and formidable energy. French culture has painfully recovered from the scars left by the pandemic: this not to say that all the problems have been solved.

Minister Dati will therefore need luck to second her own skills and experience if she is to keep cultural priorities on top of France’s political agenda as other domestic challenges tend to grab the attention, not to mention growing international tensions.

Paris, February 1st 2024, Jochen Zenthöfer

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