Future of DTV depends on ITU decisions

According to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the future of digital TV could be adversely affected by decisions taken at the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07) opening this week in Geneva.

One of the items on the Conference’s agenda concerns the identification of frequency bands for international mobile telecommunications (IMT) services. The bands under consideration include UHF Bands IV & V in ITU Region 1, i.e. Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East, which are currently used for TV broadcasting. “In many European countries, digital terrestrial TV in these bands has already become a major success based on the availability of free-to-air TV services” says Lieven Vermaele, EBU Technical Director. “However, this success story could be jeopardised by the introduction of mobile phone services in broadcasting frequency bands.”

Interference problems can easily arise when a number of services are deployed in the same frequency bands. A recent study of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), which represents 48 EU countries, highlighted the problem of potential interference between mobile phones and TV services. CEPT suggests that further technical studies are necessary in this area and therefore allocations to the mobile service in relevant parts of the band 470 – 862 MHz should be considered only at the next WRC in 2011.

In view of the many uncertainties about interference issues, the EBU strongly endorses CEPT’s position. “We urge ITU to wait and study the options before making any decision on band sharing,” says Lieven Vermaele, “in 2011 the picture will be much clearer.”

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