John Clare, the chief executive of the parent company that owns Dixons, Curry's and PC World has outlined his concerns about the proposed auction of the publicly owned spectrum that will be released as a result of the forthcoming digital switchover process in the UK.

The CEO thinks: "The proposed auction is likely to result in the spectrum being sold to mobile phone operators," that "Once complete, will end any prospect of free-to-air high definition programming in the UK."

Outlining his case against the auction process, John Clare pointed to the views of customers: "Four million customers will buy HD-ready televisions in the UK this year, up from 2.4 million in 2006. For nearly half, there is an assumption that they will eventually be able to receive high definition programming via free-to-air services. The proposed auction process will render that impossible, which will be a huge blow to millions of customers who choose not to opt for subscription programming.”

He added: “The British public are paying for the switchover and the HD programming infrastructure. Paying for a service that will only be available to a privileged few is not consistent with the proud tradition of public service broadcasting in the UK. Protecting it would secure the future of world-class public service broadcasting in this country and would be a hugely popular decision."