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Survey on Transition to Digital Terrestrial Television and Optimal Use of the Digital Dividend

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    Survey on Transition to Digital Terrestrial Television

    And Optimal use of the Digital Dividend

    Preliminary Notice: ThissurveytriestoaddressallpossibleaspectsoftheswitchovertoDTTandofthedigitaldividend.Therefore, ifyou think thatyoucannotanswersomequestions,pleasewrite:Idontknowandskiptothenextquestion.

    Notice 1: While this first public survey is made on TRC official web site for practical

    reasons, it is not a TRC public consultation leading directly to some TRC regulatory measure. It is made under the responsibility of the members of an

    EU-Jordan Twinning Project (details in Introduction &Annex 1)

    Notice 2: The questions and hypotheses envisaged or suggested in this public survey do not necessarily reflect: the views or intentions of TRC, nor those of the government of Jordan or the EU administrations

    participating to the Twinning, nor those of the European Commission who funds this Twinning on behalf

    of the EU.

    The deadline for sending your contribution is 23 September 2012. Please send your contribution either by mail or by email, using the contact details below Jean Piquemal Resident Twinning Adviser Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Shmeisani, Abd Al-Hamid Sharaf Street; building no 90 PO Box: 941794 Amman 11194 Amman twinning@trc.gov.jo

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    Survey on Transition to Digital Terrestrial Television

    And Optimal use of the Digital Dividend

    1 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND TO THIS PUBLIC SURVEY

    1.1 Institutional context This public survey is one of different surveys and consultations which will be made in 2012 (and possibly early 2013) within the framework of an EU-funded Twinning Project between:

    - Administrations of three EU Member States (France, Italy & Spain), and - The Jordanian Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC).

    This Twinning project is planned to end by July 2013, and is divided in five components, out of which Component 3 is dedicated to the subject of: Transition to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) & Optimal Use of the Digital Dividend Where the term Digital Dividend refers to the frequency spectrum that will become available for other use as a result of transition from analogue to digital TV transmission. More precisely, Component 3 of the Twinning Project focuses on the possible roadmaps for reaching in Jordan an optimal use of UHF frequencies in the band 470-862 MHz. Being part of an inter-institutional project, the ultimate objective of Component 3 is to propose initiatives, roadmaps or regulatory measures which the Jordanian concerned authorities could take towards the above objective. Nevertheless it will base its process and reasoning on the likely intentions of private undertakings, investors, customers in the coming years, insofar as this can be appraised today. Hence comes the sequence of surveys and consultations which are starting now. More details about the EU-Jordan Twinning Component 3 in Annex I. 1.2 - What is the Digital Dividend? The digital dividend refers to the part of the radiofrequency spectrum that is able to be freed up following the switch from analogue to digital television. The switchover is taking place across the world. Various countries have either already completed, or are mid-way through, the move to digital TV. The freed-up spectrum is then able to be allocated to new uses. Different regions around the world are releasing slightly different spectrum bands. Analogue television in Jordan is currently broadcast in the VHF and UHF frequency bands. The UHF TV band spans 470-862 MHz. Three key processes are required to realise the digital dividend. These are:

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    Survey on Transition to Digital Terrestrial Television

    And Optimal use of the Digital Dividend

    > conversion of analogue television broadcasting to digital transmission (A/D switchover)

    > clearance of a contiguous block of spectrum > allocation of the cleared spectrum (reallocation).

    A - Digital switchover

    The first key step necessary for the realisation of the digital dividend is the digital switchover process. Currently, the digital dividend spectrum forms part of the broadcasting services bands (BSBs) which are primarily for the use of broadcasting services. Originally television broadcasters (such as JRTV) transmitted television services in these bands using analogue signals. However, JRTV will transmit only digital television in the future. The process of converting the delivery of television services from analogue to digital transmission is known as digital switchover.

    The switchover from analogue to digital television transmission has been motivated by the superior features of digital transmission. For example, digital television provides greatly improved picture and sound quality. Compared to analogue technology, digital technology is also able to transmit more television programs in the same amount of radiofrequency spectrum, enabling the provision of additional television services through multichannelling. For the Jordanian market, the benefits accruing from the realisation of the digital dividend are also a key incentive for the switch off of analogue transmissions.

    The completion of the digital switchover process will result in the freeing up of parts of the spectrum formerly used for analogue transmissions as a digital dividend, permitting refarming of this spectrum for alternative uses.

    B - What are the Opportunities from the Digital Dividend? The re-allocation of the digital dividend provides opportunities to improve the provision, quality and use of wireless broadband within Jordan. It will allow Jordan to remain a fast follower of international developments and technological advances. It provides an opportunity to further encourage competition in the mobile market, encouraging further innovation and efficiency gains to create benefits for end-users in terms of better services, and lower prices. If the digital dividend is managed as efficiently and effectively as possible, the range of uses to which it can be applied will be wider, with potentially more wireless applications having efficient access to this valuable spectrum resource. These applications include wireless (fixed /mobile) broadband communications providing ubiquitous broadband access for all, additional terrestrial broadcasting services and mobile multimedia applications.

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    Survey on Transition to Digital Terrestrial Television

    And Optimal use of the Digital Dividend

    From the decisions of the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC) held in 2007, Region 1 of the world, to which Jordan belongs, considered the [790 MHz, 862 MHz] frequency band to be the first block of the digital dividend. It is surnamed the UHF 800 MHz band. Some European countries are now rolling out LTE mobile broadband networks in this spectrum. Some objectives that might be considered for allocation of the UHF 800 MHz band are:

    An economically and technically efficient allocation of the UHF 800 MHz band that promotes competitive outcomes in the market for mobile broadband services.

    Realizing the productivity benefits offered by new technologies, including through:

    o Rapid deployment of next generation services to consumers. o Wide coverage of next generation services.

    In 2012, a new WRC took place in Geneva. As far as the digital dividend in Region 1 is concerned, a decision has been taken to allocate the [694 MHz- 790 MHz] to mobile communications. This brings a second digital dividend, surnamed the UHF 700 MHz band. The availability of it will be 2015. C - What is Happening Internationally? According to the conclusions of WRC 2007, analogue television has to be switched off by mid-2015. The switchover to digital television is already taking place around the world. Various administrations are encouraging, requiring, and helping transition viewers and broadcasters to digital television, recognizing the dual benefits of digital television and the ability to free up a slice of spectrum, the digital dividend, to be allocated to new uses. Of those countries which have completed, or are in the process of, their transition to digital television, the vast majority have identified mobile broadband services as the preferred use of the digital dividend radio spectrum. Given the focus on mobile broadband, many European countries are choosing to allocate the digital dividend in tandem with spectrum in the 2.5/2.6 GHz band, also designated for mobile use, due to the limited capacity of the digital dividend in the UHF 800 MHz band. This allows getting capacity in urban dense areas as well as a significant coverage in the rural areas. Some key international developments concerning digital dividend spectrum are:

    The United States, which are the main country in Region 2, are following a different scheme. In the WRC 2007, Region 2 decided to free immediately the UHF 700 MHz band for mobile broadband. Following this conclusion, the United States held a series of auctions from 2007 on, which resulted in two national mobile network operators acquiring spectrum, along with many regional operators. USA auctioned also blocks of frequencies from the [694 MHz, 790 MHz] for public utilities and governmental services (e.g. band 14)

    In Europe, which is in Region 1, Germany and Sweden were early users of the digital

    dividend and held auctions in June 2010 and February 2011 respectively. In both countries, three mobile network providers won 2x10 MHz each. In the lower part of the UHF band,

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    Survey on Transition to Digital Terrestrial Television

    And Optimal use of the Digital Dividend

    these countries allocated parts of [790 MHz, 862 MHz]. Germanys auctions c

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