TV network design

The planning of a TV network starts with the available electromagnetic spectrum and designing a network which optimises that scarce resource.

The tranmission tower at Emley Moor is the tallest freestanding structure in the UK, measuring 330.4 metres high

The tranmission tower at Emley Moor is the tallest freestanding structure in the UK, measuring 330.4 metres high

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This is often known as “spectrum planning” or “frequency planning”. The terrestrial TV network in the UK occupies part of the Ultra High Frequency Band (UHF) – more specifically the channels in the 600MHz and 700MHz bands.

The frequency plan is ultimately specified at an international level by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) through various international radio conferences which take place every few years. Ofcom then implement this plan in the UK by specifying the frequencies, radiated powers and target coverage areas for each transmitter station. In addition, Ofcom must agree the UK plan with neighbouring countries such as France and Ireland to avoid interference between each network.

To complete any given frequency plan for the UK can often take several years of complex technical work and includes negotiations with all our neighbouring countries.

We have our own experts in spectrum planning and network design who assist Ofcom and our customers through this complex technical process. Our sophisticated network planning tools help make this process as efficient as possible.

The frequency plan also sets out the bandwidth of the channel and interference limits and effectively determines how many multiplexes can be accommodated within the plan and the mode of transmission that will be allowed on the network (e.g. the choice between DVB-T and DVB-T2 transmission standards).

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