Brazil to use WiMax for DTT

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

The Brazilian Government is planning to test the WiMax broadband wireless system as a return channel for interactive digital terrestrial television applications. The Communications Ministry, together with the Center for Research in Telecommunications (CPqD), will initiate interactive DTT trials in Hortolândia near Sao Paulo with set-top boxes provided by Brazil's RF Telavo and India's Encore. The basic receiver model will include the Ginga middleware and permit internet access to services such as home banking via TV and long distance educational courses.

The digital box will initially cost US$ 100, but according to Communications Minister, Hélio Costa, the price should fall to US$ 50 by June 2008. Speaking during the Broadcast & Cable 2007 event in Sao Paulo, he also revealed that a financing line has been secured with the BNDES, enabling Brazilians to purchase the receivers in installments of BRL 7 a month.

DTT transmissions are due to officially start on December 2 in São Paulo. In February 2008, the signal will arrive to the cities of Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília and in July will reach all capitals. Brazil is also keen to extend the Japanese ISDB transmission standard to other Latin American countries, primarily Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and Colombia.

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