Gov’t to lay down migration plan for shift to digital TV
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - September 15, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The government is set to lay down the migration plan to shift to the digital terrestrial television (DTT) within a period of three years to five years, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said.

NTC commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said the migration plan would immediately be drafted after the adoption of a memorandum circular containing the implementing rules and regulations on the DTT transition.

The plan would be drafted together with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and other agencies.

Cordoba said the government is looking at a transition period of between three years and five years to pave the way for the analog shutoff and the full shift to DTT.

“We are looking at a minimum of three to five years,” he said.

According to him, it took Japan about 10 years to complete the shift to DTT while Brazil took almost five years.

The NTC has given major players in the industry until Sept. 22 to file their comments on the proposed guidelines after conducting a public hearing last Friday.

Under the proposed guidelines, analog VHF (very high frequency) TV operators including channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 13 have one year to simulcast their DTT Broadcast (DTTB) service through UHF (ultra high frequency) channels.

He pointed out that VHF TV operators that fail to simulcast within one year would lose their frequency to other qualified UHF TV operators.

He added that analog UHF TV operators could go directly to DTTB service anytime during the one-year transition period but could also simulcast their DTTB service depending on the availability of frequencies.

Entities with a valid Congressional franchise to provide TV broadcasting service may apply for an authorization to operate a DTTB service as long as they have a minimum paid-up capital of P50 million for the first service area and additional subscribed capital of P20 million for each additional service area.

Cordoba said frequency banks 512 to 698 MHz or Channels 21 to 51 have been allocation for the implementation of DTTB service and a bandwidth of 6 MHz would be assigned for each authorized DTTB service per service area.

Broadcast firms led by ABS-CBN and GMA Network spent billions of pesos to buy equipment and upgrade their facilities in preparation for the complete shift to DTT.

Last November, NTC issued the memorandum circular for “Standard for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Broadcast Service” as President Aquino announced the shift to digital TV using the Japanese standard after reaching an agreement with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the Asean Meeting in Brunei in October.

The government picked Japan’s Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial or ISDB-T standard over Europe’s Digital Video Broadcasting-Terrestrial 2 or DVB-T2 due to the broadcast of early warning signals during emergency situations.

ASEAN MEETING BROADCAST SERVICE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY DIGITAL TERRESTRIAL TELEVISION DIGITAL VIDEO BROADCASTING-TERRESTRIAL DTT GAMALIEL CORDOBA INTEGRATED SERVICE DIGITAL BROADCASTING-TERRESTRIAL SERVICE
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