NTC issues digital TV guidelines

Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - December 18, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has issued the guidelines finally paving the way for the start of the planned shift to digital terrestrial television broadcast (DTTB).

NTC commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba has issued Memorandum Circular 07-12-2014 laying down the rules and regulations for DTTB service to ensure smooth transition from analog to digital television.

“In order to facilitate the entry of digital broadcast services in the country, there is a need to provide the corresponding guidelines for the delivery of digital television services and ensure smooth transition from analog to digital services,” Cordoba said.

The introduction of digital technology in the broadcasting service would allow the country to keep pace with the development in technology and ensure the competitiveness of the broadcast industry.

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

Under the guidelines, analog VHF (very high frequency) TV service should neither be disrupted nor terminated until further orders from the NTC while operators are required to simulcast their DTTB service together with the analog TV service within one year upon the grant of authority to provide DTTB service.

VHF TV operators that fail to simulcast within one year would lose their frequency to other qualified UHF (ultra high frequency) TV operators.

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 the operators have the financial capacity and technical capability to install, operate, and maintain the proposed DTTB network.

Cordoba said a DTTB migration plan would be formulated by NTC in consultation with major shareholders to address the policy, regulatory, and technical issues as well as fiscal considerations, industry and consumer support interventions, and other measures necessary for the country’s migration to digital TV broadcasting.

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.

ANALOG BROADCAST DIGITAL DIGITAL VIDEO BROADCASTING-TERRESTRIAL DTTB GAMALIEL CORDOBA INTEGRATED SERVICE DIGITAL BROADCASTING-TERRESTRIAL MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION SERVICE
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