Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyz Republic, 29 March 2012
It is a great pleasure for me to have this opportunity to speak to you this morning at the opening of this Round Table on the shores of the beautiful Issyk-Kul lake.
The transition of terrestrial television broadcasting from analog to digital offers us the famous “digital dividend”. The digital dividend may be used by broadcasting services to provide more programs, high definition TV, 3D TV or mobile television, or it may be used by other services such as the mobile service, either in a frequency band which can be shared with broadcasting (for short range devices), or in a harmonized frequency allocation for international mobile telecommunication.
In addition, digital TV allows the implementation of single frequency networks which permit the reuse of the same spectrum over much larger areas, further increasing spectrum efficiency compared to the analogue networks.
However, decisions on the transition to digital broadcasting and the digital dividend are not only difficult at the national level, but also have to involve all neighbouring countries. They are by their very nature regional or international decisions. This is why meetings such as this Round Table are so important and I congratulate the State Communications Agency of the Kyrgyz Republic for organizing this event.
I am sure many of us here have fond memories of the ITU Regional Radiocommunication Conference for the planning of digital broadcasting services held in Geneva, in 2006 (RRC-06). 120 countries participated from CIS region, Europe, Arab States, Africa and Iran. It adopted a digital frequency Plan based on common digital terrestrial broadcasting standards: DVB-T for television; and T-DAB for sound broadcasting.
The choice of a common transmission standard means lower costs thanks to the economies of scale. This in turn facilitates faster switch-over. DVB-T has been deployed in 65 countries and over 125 million sets have already been sold. The new improved DVB-T2 offers 66% increase in frequency efficiency and is already deployed in 38 countries.
Allowing sufficient time for the population to buy new TVs or set top boxes and receiving antennas, requires the simulcast of both analogue and digital transmissions. As a result, frequency coordination with neighbouring countries is vital to identify temporary frequency channels for simulcasting during the transition period.
Equally important is the harmonization of spectrum for the digital dividend. This reduces costs and enables global roaming; reduces the complexity of the radio network and avoids interference with adjacent services.
The ITU, through my colleagues in the BR and the BDT, is committed to provide as much assistance as possible to help Member States in the transition to digital broadcasting.
Together with the regional organisations, RCC in this region, and regional broadcasting and telecommunication organizations, ITU organises regional workshops and frequency coordination meetings to promote the cooperation between neighbouring countries in the region in order to assist in the transition to digital terrestrial television and the use of the digital dividend.
These events are open to all relevant stakeholders: governments, regulators, broadcasters, mobile operators, etc..
So to conclude, let me say on behalf of my colleagues, that ITU is ready and willing to assist you in these important tasks.
I wish you a very successful Round Table and every success in the transition to digital broadcasting in the region.