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450-470 MHz band alignment

harmonised. Examples of downstream markets that may be affected include the provision of taxi services or security services. These markets are likely to compete on a local, regional and national level.

Band alignment is likely to affect some firms more than others. For example, a company that purchased equipment relatively recently is likely to incur larger equipment-related costs (i.e. early depreciation) than a company planning to update its system soon after 2005 anyway. Consequently, band alignment is likely to affect the market structure in many markets. The costs of band alignment to current radio users may make it difficult for some companies to compete, particularly if their competitors are not faced with these additional costs. As a result, some companies may have to exit the market, leading to less choice and higher prices to end consumers.

On the other hand, band alignment may have a positive impact on competition. Existing users may be able to upgrade to digital systems, improving the quality of service to end customers. Such users may also benefit from being able to purchase lower-cost digital equipment. The release of spectrum also provides scope to expand or introduce new radio services. This will have the benefit of increasing choice and lowering prices to end customers.

6.CUSTOMER SURVEY RESULTS

In December 2001, RA carried out a survey, obtaining economic and technical data to assess the re-planning of the 450-470 MHz band. Questionnaires were sent to all 9,238 customers that will be affected by band alignment. The results from this questionnaire have been used to produce this Regulatory Impact Assessment.

7.ENFORCEMENT, SANCTIONS, MONITORING AND REVIEW

When band alignment is implemented, RA will have to monitor the users moving to new frequencies. During the process of migration, RA will need to ensure that users are protected from interference and that they move out within the specified time frame.

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