Most countries in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia are planning to expand their DTT services, according to an early results of new survey on the use of spectrum by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) .
The survey was conducted in preparation for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23), a forum that globally coordinates the allocation of the available frequency spectrum to media and telecommunication services.
It collected responses from 123 countries between February and August this year. Although the final results are expected in March 2021, the interim results allow for a number of conclusions.
In many countries, a majority of the population view television received via terrestrial networks. In 29 countries this is true for more than 75% of the population, and in 20 of the responding countries for 50% to 75%.
Most countries have very high DTT coverage, and many are planning to extend it: 55 countries state that DTT covers more than 75% of their population, and 23 of these are planning to extend the coverage further. Twelve countries with less than 75% of coverage also plan to extend it.
Many countries continue to invest in DTT: 50 plan the introduction of more programmes; 59 anticipate the introduction of enhanced services (e.g. HDTV, UHDTV with HDR); 32 foresee additional reception modes (e.g. portable and mobile); 26 foresee or are planning to move to new technology; but also, many others were unable to comment at this time about their future plans.
Regarding the amount of UHF spectrum that administrations consider will be required for DTT in the future, 81 countries put this at exactly 224 MHz, which corresponds to the amount of spectrum in the band 470-694 MHz currently used for DTT. Thirteen countries expressed a requirement for more than 224 MHz, and five countries indicated a requirement for less than 224 MHz. (See Table and Figure below).
The interim results show significant support from administrations in the surveyed region for continued access of DTT to the current UHF spectrum used for terrestrial broadcasting.
The information gathered will have a bearing on WRC-23, which is scheduled for November 2023 and will discuss possible changes in the UHF spectrum allocation to broadcasting.