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EC grants green light to DVB-H mobile TV spec

Posted: 20 Jul 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile TV? DVB-H? EC green light?

The European Commission (EC) has called for member states and the industry to push ahead the implementation of DVB-H standard for mobile TV as fast as possible.

The strong endorsement of the commission has upset the backers of alternative specifications for mobile TV, such as those based on DMB, digital audio broadcasting technology or the MediaFLO specification promoted by Qualcomm Inc.

Not surprising
The EC support, however, was not unexpected following statements over the past year by EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding, who been insisting that DVB-H is the strongest contender and most popular standard for mobile TV deployment in Europe.

Reding said the commission would "continue to monitor the situation in the EU and may come forward with proposals in 2008 including, if appropriate, making this open standard mandatory."

She reiterated July 18 she wants a pan-European market and sees a strong risk of fragmentation through potentially 27 different sets of national rules, the uncoordinated use of spectrum and a lack of interoperability. She claims mobile TV could foster growth and jobs.

"Mobile broadcasting is a tremendous opportunity for Europe to maintain and expand its leadership in mobile technology and audiovisual services," she said. "Europe today is at a crossroads. We can either take the lead globallyas we did for mobile telephony based on the GSM standard developed by the European industryor allow other regions to take the lion's share of the promising mobile TV market. Wait-and-see is not an option. The time has come for Europe's industry and governments to switch on to mobile TV."

'Light touch' regulation
The commission also urged governments to make radio spectrumreleased by the switch from analog to digital TV broadcastingavailable for mobile TV as quickly as possible, including in the UHF band and the L-band as a backup. It called for "light touch" regulation of the nascent market.

The industry is pushing for UHF band as it would be two to three times more expensive to build networks in higher L-band, but in some countries such as the United Kingdom, the UHF spectrum is crowded until analog broadcasts are switched off in 2012.

DVB-H has been developed with almost $53 million of EC research cash and has so far been tried or rolled out in 18 European countries. The decision is seen as a way of speeding up the rollout of services, which the EC believes could reach some 500 million customers worldwide by 2011.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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