Ofcom backs return to 64 QAM after switch over


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Ofcom backs return to 64 QAM
Ofcom is proposing a move back to 64 QAM transmissions following digital switchover. Outlining a series of options as part of its Planning Options for Digital Switchover statement, the UK regulator concludes that the additional channels available through 64 QAM transmissions should outweigh the cost disadvantages, but this should only happen if 98.5% coverage could be achieved after switchover. The BBC and Crown Castle moved to 16 QAM transmissions following the launch of the Freeview platform. However, it is now accepted that interference concerns were over-baked, and can be addressed through the increase in power after switchover. ITV/Channel 4 and SDN (now owned by ITV) maintain 64 QAM transmissions and have developed a successful business leasing capacity to third party channels. Although the commercial operators should be free to determine their own coverage, the various modes and power levels offering different levels of coverage, Ofcom believes it to be in their own interests to achieve similar levels. Key is that the commercial operators do not let their coverage fall below the present 73%, although it says maximum coverage of 90% is achievable.