To the general relief of the UK PMSE (Programme Making & Special Events) community, the UK Government last week announced that payments can commence from the much-discussed UK 800MHz funding package.
The announcement brings to an end many months of uncertainty about whether there would be any last-minute objections to the Ofcom-initiated package, which has enabled licensed users of Channel 69-operable equipment to claim partial costs towards the price of equipment rendered obsolete by forthcoming spectrum reallocation.
While the failure of the scheme to cover non-Channel 69 equipment saw it come in for criticism, many in UK pro-audio emphasised the benefits of the package, which was arrived at after extensive campaigning by industry bodies including the BEIRG Pro User Group and PLASA.
“Had the funding scheme not been put into place, the results could have been disastrous for businesses who could not have afforded to replace their entire stock of wireless equipment,” said Shure UK applications & product planning manager Tuomo Tolonen (pictured). “The funding scheme should minimise any disruption to the industry as affected users will be able to invest in new equipment with less hassle.”
Meanwhile, Ofcom and BEIRG are calling for wireless equipment owners who have submitted claims to the scheme to ensure that all documentation is provided prior to the final deadline of 2 April 2011.
While some 50% of claimants have submitted the necessary paperwork, 570 claims are currently waiting on the proof of ownership that needs to be provided in order for verification and approval to be completed.
Ian Wainwright, PMSE implementation project manager at Ofcom, commented: “We realise the difficulty that some people may have in providing all of the required proof of ownership details, but we would urge them to come forward as soon as possible with whatever information they have, so that we can complete this stage of their claim.
“Even if claimants only have proof of ownership information for a portion of their claim, we would urge them to submit whatever data they have available, as this will allow us to process the relevant items. After that we will review the outstanding issues with the claimant.”
A BEIRG spokesman added: “It’s vitally important that users, who have submitted claims, realise that the key issue here is communication. If they are in any way unsure about whether they have enough information to reinforce their proof of ownership, then please just contact Equiniti and talk it through. This is a unique situation and all parties are keen to help arrive at the right outcome for all concerned.”
Once the proof of ownership stage has been completed, claimants will be asked to surrender equipment in-line with the surrender dates they picked during the registration phase. If they wish to switch to a later date they should contact Equiniti.