Digital dividend

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Under the Digital Dividend ( English digital dividend ) is meant by the digitization of broadcasting vacant frequency bands (especially through the conversion of the analogue terrestrial television to digital DVB-T ).

Background of becoming free

With DVB-T (old) an analog channel was usually occupied by a DVB-T ensemble with four to five SD programs. In other words, digital broadcasting only required approx. 20 to 25% of the bandwidth that corresponding analog broadcasts would require with comparable quality. As a result, and due to the lower signal strength during broadcast, program operators can significantly reduce costs. Depending on the degree of compression of the digital transmission, up to 90% of the previously used frequency bands are free and can be used for other purposes. Among other things, significantly more television and radio programs have been broadcast since digitization.

Future use

The freed-up frequencies are now to be used for the Internet broadband connection in rural areas and also for mobile communications (mobile telephony) (see also digital divide ).

General criticism

  • The term digital dividend is controversial: Critics point out that it can be misunderstood because even after digitization, the same, and not a larger, frequency band is still available. That is just assigned or divided differently.
  • The requirements for the coverage of areas with a low priority level are also contradictory. A control over the fulfillment of the supply is practically impossible because the network operators "voluntarily" only document the supply in the broadband atlas of the TÜV Rheinland. “White spots” that are equipped with all other technologies (fiber optics, cables, etc.) (except satellite) are also considered to be “supplied”. The concept of care is therefore extremely vague and nebulous.
  • However, the discussion is always based on the frequency requirements of the primary broadcasting service (ITU-R terminology). Secondary radio uses by a very large number of low-power wireless transmitters, so-called PMSE (CEPT terminology) or SAB / SAP (ITU-R terminology), are not taken into account. These small transmitters, for example wireless microphones and wireless listening tracks, are used intensively for event operations. B. Used in art, culture, radio, television and corporate use. Extensive studies are currently taking place within the framework of the CEPT, the ITU-R and in a number of countries that describe this use and seek to ensure long-term use.

Situation in Germany

Frequency auction 2010

From April 12, 2010 to May 20, 2010, the Federal Network Agency auctioned frequencies in the 800 MHz range (previously UHF, 790 MHz to 862 MHz), 1.8 GHz (previously used by the Bundeswehr), 2 GHz (former Quam and Mobilcom licenses for UMTS ) and 2.6 GHz for wireless network access to offer telecommunications services. The frequency assignments are Template: future / in 5 yearslimited to December 31, 2025 .

"The frequencies in the 800 MHz range will be allocated abstractly in five blocks of 2 × 5 MHz (paired) and a specific block of 2 × 5 MHz (paired)."

The term paired means that each frequency block contains two related frequency ranges for uplink and downlink.

Unlike the current frequency distribution in mobile communications, the frequencies for the uplink ( end device to base station ) are higher than the frequencies for the downlink (base station to end device). This is presumably to prevent the transmission frequencies of the end devices at the customer (cell phones, radio modems) from interfering with the televisions and set-top boxes that are usually located nearby.

Between the upper limit of television channel 60 (790 MHz) and the downlink of frequency block A, a so-called protective channel with a width of 1 MHz was inserted as a safety margin.

Uplink Downlink Price 2010
O₂ 5 MHz in the range 832.0-837.0 MHz 5 MHz in the range 791.0-796.0 MHz € 616.595 million
O₂ 5 MHz in the range 837.0-862.0 MHz 5 MHz in the range 796.0-821.0 MHz € 595.76 million
Telecom 5 MHz in the range 837.0-862.0 MHz 5 MHz in the range 796.0-821.0 MHz € 570.849 million
Telecom 5 MHz in the range 837.0-862.0 MHz 5 MHz in the range 796.0-821.0 MHz € 582.949 million
Vodafone 5 MHz in the range 837.0-862.0 MHz 5 MHz in the range 796.0-821.0 MHz € 583.006 million
Vodafone 5 MHz in the range 837.0-862.0 MHz 5 MHz in the range 796.0-821.0 MHz € 627.317 million


LTE filter to hide interference from LTE signals in cable television networks

One problem is that the event technology uses its wireless microphones ( radio microphones : headsets, lavalier and handheld microphones) on frequencies around 850 MHz . For radio microphones, according to the Official Gazette Order 91/2005 of the Federal Network Agency , the ranges 790–814 MHz and 838–862 MHz were allocated until 2015. This technology can continue to be used up to this point, however, disruptions due to the use of the digital dividend cannot be ruled out. If interference-free use of the radio microphones must be guaranteed, it is possible to apply to the Federal Network Agency for individual assignments in other frequency ranges.

In order to ensure the continued trouble-free operation of radio microphones, the Federal Network Agency has already campaigned in the relevant committees to ensure that alternative frequency ranges are made available in 2009. According to the new frequency plan that has already been launched, these are the frequencies 470–790 MHz (lower UHF range), 822–832 MHz (so-called duplex center gap - depending on international stipulations). It is possible that this range will be expanded downwards and / or upwards (1452–1477 MHz and 1785–1800 MHz, in future 1805 MHz → European harmonized range).

With the introduction of the digital aerial television DVB-T2 and the LTE mobile radio standard , there is mutual interference in the cable television networks , as the frequency range up to 862 MHz is used. The reason lies in the wiring that has been built up since the 1980s and is often poorly shielded.

Test broadcasts were carried out in Fulda between February 14 and 18, 2011.

Pension obligations

Due to the legal requirements, a special coverage obligation is provided for the frequencies in the 800 MHz band. According to this, the license holder is obliged to gradually supply areas with broadband connections according to priority levels in all federal states when using these frequencies. An overview of underserved communities and sub-communities was reported to the Federal Network Agency by the federal states.

  • Priority 1: Unsupervised regions (cities, municipalities or connected built-up districts with a population of up to 5000)
  • Priority 2: Regions that are generally undersupplied (cities, municipalities or connected built-up districts with a population of more than 5,000 and up to 20,000)
  • Priority 3: Regions that are generally considered to be supplied (cities, municipalities or connected built-up districts with a population of more than 20,000 and up to 50,000)
  • Priority 4: Regions that are generally considered to be covered throughout (cities, municipalities or contiguous built-up districts with a population of more than 50,000).

From January 1, 2016 [obsolete] , a coverage rate of at least 50% must be achieved in every federal state. The grid expansion of level 2 may only take place if at least 90% of level 1 is supplied. The following applies to the following levels: Level 3 - at least 90% of level 2 are supplied, level 4 - the supply of at least 90% of level 3 is ensured.

Digital dividend II

In February 2012, the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) submitted a proposal for a second digital dividend, according to which mobile operators should also be able to use the 694–790 MHz range in the future. This decision arouses great misunderstanding in event engineering circles. After the first digital dividend, many companies bought new wireless microphones that use the 710–790 MHz frequency band that has been newly released for them. The possible second reorganization will probably make permanent use of these devices impossible from 2026. The WRC-12 has set up a study group which, in addition to examining the future frequency requirements of mobile radio, is examining the compatibility of television reception and the further use of wireless radio microphones (SAB / SAP). Resolutions are not expected until the next World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC-15).

Individual evidence

  1. Distribution battle for the digital dividend. In:
  2. They are being auctioned. At the Müritz there is radio: wireless broadband internet over previous radio frequencies. In:
  3. ( Memento from July 17, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  4. Facts about the frequency auction 2010. ( Memento of the original from April 15, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. BNetzA  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. List of municipalities and sub-municipalities that are undersupplied with broadband  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  6. Digital dividend or broadband for everyone! Section “What is the digital dividend?” In:
  7. Digital dividend is to be auctioned in 2009. In:
  8. Mobile operators look forward to a second digital dividend. In:

Web links