France considers digital dividend

French telecommunications regulator ARCEP has published a summary of its public consultation- launched July 2007 – aimed at enlightening public authorities in their work on the digital dividend conducted under the aegis of the Comité Stratégique pour le Numérique.

Several players, especially from the telecommunications sector, but also a very small number of contributors from the broadcasting sector, discussed the question of complementarity between mobile networks (where mobile television offers already exist) and future broadcasting networks to mobiles in the UHF band (TMP), as well as satellite projects such as DVB-SH. Certain contributors also addressed the question of broadcasting additional channels on digital terrestrial television as well as that of other uses such as digital radio in the III or L bands, wireless microphones and RFID.

Several contributors looked at the question of assigning the digital dividend in the UHF band. Some players consider that the volume of the digital dividend can be known only once analogue television has been effectively closed. Others, on the other hand, provide technical evaluations and UHF frequency distribution scenarios for the end of analogue.

The question of assigning the digital dividend itself was the object of a number of different approaches. Some contributors focus on the needs related to national coverage in very high-speed mobile and would like to see a reasonable share of the digital dividend attributed to this use, in the form of a sub-band. Other contributors promote allocation diagrams intended essentially to implementing high definition television via microwaves, as well as broadcasting to mobiles (TMP).

Finally, some contributors stressed that broadcasting service offers must help to develop very high-speed fixed and mobile networks. “These networks constitute effective means for broadcasting content which, while encouraging the preservation of pluralism and the development of cultural diversity, will in return provide the growth relays needed by programme and content providers,” concluded the report.

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