he UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) hosted the regional forum and first Arab meeting to coordinate Terrestrial Television channels in Dubai during from 17 to 20 May, in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Arab League and the Arab States Broadcasting Union. The first day of the forum witnessed participation from a number of experts and professionals from the Arab region as well as the rest of the world. H.E Majed El Mesmar, Deputy General Manager of the telecommunications sector in TRA welcomed broadcasting operators and official state representatives in the presence of H.E Ibrahim Al Abed, General Manager of the National Media Council as well as media managers in the nation.
The forum focuses on the migration from analog terrestrial TV broadcasting to digital and the need for regional coordination and cooperation to make it happen. It also discusses the technical and regulatory challenges of this migration in the Arab region in relation to the cost, deployment, return of investment, and radio frequency planning and sharing spectrum. In addition, participants reviewed technical requirements and necessary procedures to make amendments to the Geneve-06 terrestrial digital broadcasting service.
H.E Majed Al Mesmar said: “There are certain issues that we must not lose sight of and those include the band allocated for analogue Terrestrial TV Broadcasting which will no longer be protected after mid of June 17th 2015, and the reassignment of the 700 & 800 MHz bands that reduce the number of channels allocated for Digital Terrestrial TV Broadcast. In order to tackle these issues, we need to discuss and understand everything related to the migration from analogue to digital, the importance of the Digital Terrestrial TV Broadcast and the challenges of this migration in the Arab region in relation to cost, deployment and return of investments. Agreeing on a unified Digital TV Receiver specification for the Arab region and the consensus among Arab countries to find and allocate the required additional channels that compensate the lost ones due to the reassignments of 700 & 800 MHz are also required to tackle these issues.
The meeting also witnessed ITU’s radio sector technicians analyzing and making necessary technical accounts, depending on the program used in the RRC 2006 conference to determine the extent of the possibility to use the proposed frequencies.
“The digital terrestrial television broadcasting offers many advantages that exceeds traditional analogue. This includes high quality picture and sound, efficient use of the frequency spectrum, high mobility, multi-channel and broadcast media, in addition to better reception of broadcast signals, which also features low cost compared with the broadcast satellite broadcasting.” Said Eng. Tarek Al Owady, Executive Director of Spectrum Management and international affairs in the UAE.
Most of the studies and reports about the migration process have identified key factors that will help ensure the success of services such as the production of special content to broadcast digital terrestrial television to commensurate with both local and national needs of each country. They also create a distinct content of TV channels that broadcasts exclusively on digital terrestrial stations available within satellite channels or other modes of transportation. In addition to that, it also helps in the adoption of a unified manufacturing device for receiving broadcast television signals across all modes of transportation to reduce the number of receivers used in houses and contribute to the promotion of digital TV service to the public.
The TRA has recently worked on a draft brochure for receivers, digital terrestrial television broadcasting, in collaboration with the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology as well as TV manufacturers and operators such as Abu Dhabi Media Company, Dubai Media Incorporated and Sharjah media. The draft dictates that TV suppliers need to be committed in providing tuning devices for digital terrestrial TV broadcasting with every TV sold in the country by 2015 according to the brochure.