The European Commission has launched a consultation to determine how to better work together at EU level to get the most from the DSO opportunity. The consultation will run until 4 September 2009.
“The digital dividend comes at a critical moment when we want to connect all parts of Europe to high-speed broadband, ensure high quality broadcasting, and expand consumer choice in future wireless services,” said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. “Europe will only achieve all of this if it adopts a coordinated approach using radio spectrum in the most efficient way. Depending on the choices we make, the potential impact of the digital dividend can be increased by billions of euros. We want to better understand what the public, broadcasters, mobile operators and other market players think of these choices before we finalise our proposals.”
The Commission says consumers have high expectations for the future development of broadcasting, such as increased choice, high definition, and mobile television and broadband. To achieve this the Commission is proposing that all DTT receivers sold after January 1, 2012 should at least be as efficient as the current H.264/MPEG-4 AVC standard.
The Commission wants to foster co-operation between member states already committed to upgrading their networks to next generation systems. The UK, France, Greece, Norway, Serbia and Latvia are among the countries moving towards MPEG-4 and/or DVB-T2 transmissions. Single Frequency Networks (SFNs) are also being favoured over Multiple Frequency Networks (MFNs). An increase in the minimum standards required for terrestrial broadcasting would outweigh the costs by between E4 billion and E10 billion, according to a study conducted by Analysys Mason, DotEcon and Hogan & Hartson.
As a matter of urgency the Commission wants member states that have not already completed analogue switch off to reaffirm their intentions to do so by January 1, 2012 and to have all the necessary measures in place during 2011. It also wants the 800 MHz band â€“ already used in the UK for digital broadcasting â€“ to be opened for EU-wide electronic communications services.