IBC 2011 – AMSTERDAM DigiTAG, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), BNE and ACT have jointly issued a further set of formal recommendations aimed at ensuring the adoption of technical safeguards to protect from harmful interference television services delivered by the DTT platform.
Such interference may result from telecoms transmissions emitted from fixed base station towers, known as ‘downlink interference’, or from signals emitted by mobile handsets, known as ‘uplink interference’. Earlier jointly proposed recommendations from November 2010 specifically addressed the ‘downlink interference’.
In this second set of recommendations, DigiTAG, the EBU, BNE and ACT propose that additional measures should be implemented to protect DTT services from ‘uplink interference’ which may otherwise be caused by LTE/UMTS terminals such as smart phones and mobile phone handsets. These terminals are generally mobile and transmit at random times, making them significantly more difficult to trace as sources of interference than the fixed downlink emissions.
The relation between broadcasters and telcos over frequency management was also the subject of Ingrid Deltenre’s press conference at IBC on Friday. “It is about integration and bringing different purpose networks together. If we want to go a step further we must cooperate together.”
She said that DVB-T2 is a positive evolution and that using DVB-T2 for mobile is “probably a good idea. Broadcasting and mobile broadband networks have a future together.” However, some work still needs to be done. “The industry initiative taken by the DVB to talk to the 3GPP was good, but unfortunately we didn’t hear any positive feedback from the mobile world about cooperation with the broadcast world.”
Meanwhile, the broadcast industry hopes that by issuing recommendations, current and future interference problems might be prevented.
Commenting on the recommendations, Daniel Sauvet-Goichon, chairman of DigiTAG said: “Measures must be put in place to protect the quality of the viewing experience enjoyed by the many tens of millions of households across Europe that access their television via the DTT platform. It is essential for national administrations to guarantee that these viewers can continue to rely on these popular TV services without any threat of technical interference.”
Bernard Pauchon, chairman of BNE, said: “Considerable efforts are being made by the whole broadcasting industry to rearrange DTT transmission below 790 MHz in order to clear the upper frequencies for other uses. European and national institutions must ensure that the users of these cleared upper frequencies do not inadvertently interfere in the broadcast services provided by broadcast network operators to broadcasters and citizens.”
Lieven Vermaele, EBU director of technology & development stated, “The major impact of interference from mobile communications devices on TV reception will be to confuse viewers, whose TV pictures break up or simply go black. Viewers would have no way of knowing that there was actually nothing wrong with their TVs or the service. It is therefore essential, in the public interest that great care is taken in planning and implementing mobile communications services in the former broadcasting band, so that the risk of such confusion is totally avoided.”
Ross Biggam, director general of ACT, concluded: “Adequate safeguards in relation to the protection from harmful interference must be provided for, when considering plans to reallocate newly released spectrum. Robust technical studies should be conducted to demonstrate that these safeguards are effective on all existing TV products and on applications using adjacent spectrum bands for broadcast and related purposes.”