Dr. Jochen Zenthöfer 12/09/2019
The Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in 2020 will take place in the Netherlands. This is the success of the Dutch singer Duncan Laurence, who won this year’s contest. The next ESC will take place in Rotterdam. But are there enough frequencies? Recently, 154 microphones from artists were used in the ESC – especially in the UHF band, because it offers the best physical properties and promises great safety.
After the past world radio conferences, parts of this band were auctioned off to mobile radio. This is known under the names “Digital Dividend I” and “Digital Dividend II”. First, the 800 MHz band was awarded to mobile radio, then the 700 MHz band. A dividend was thus paid for mobile communications and, of course, for the state, which was able to collect the proceeds. The losers, however, were the users of radio microphones, i.e. above all culture. The remainder of the UHF spectrum is not sufficient to meet the growing demands of the cultural and creative industries.
The Dutch are now feeling this too. They had also awarded the 700 MHz band to mobile radio. But now they have to set up the ESC in 2020. Those responsible promptly realize that there is a lack of frequencies for this. A decision is made quickly: The actual allocation of the 700 MHz band to mobile radio must be postponed. One can imagine statements such as: “We need the spectrum for the microphones, otherwise we cannot align ESC! Indeed. After all, mobile phone occupancy is now being shifted and there are frequencies, even if only for a short time. The ESC can take place.
We need the spectrum for the microphones, otherwise we cannot align an ESC!
The question remains: What if the Netherlands also wins the ESC in 2020? How do they intend to organise competition in 2021 if there is then – finally – a shortage of frequencies? The same applies to many other countries in Europe. For Germany, too, a victory for reasons of frequency technology would be an immense challenge, as would Austria and other countries. The only remaining solution is that the ESC must take place in Australia from 2021? There are still free frequencies in the Outback, most likely in Alice Springs, in the middle of the desert. The World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 must pay close attention to ensuring that the 600 MHz band for wireless means of production remains intact!