Prasar Bharati responds to TRAI consultation paper; open to sharing DTT


30 Aug 2013
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Pubcaster Prasar Bharati has sent its viewpoints  to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)'s consultation paper on the involvement of the private sector in digital terrestrial broadcasting (which has been its forte, so far).

In its response, it has stated that, even as it supports the move, it feels that the potential of available distribution options need to be critically analysed to fulfill their requirements (for example coverage, capacity, reception mode, type of service etc).

The public broadcaster has also said that the terrestrial broadcast platform will be relevant in the long term if its usage offers veritable benefits to the broadcasters, the audiences and the society as a whole. Even in countries where cable, satellite or broadband hold a significant market share, terrestrial broadcasting is usually regarded as an essential, flexible and reliable way of delivering broadcast content to a mass audience.

In its response to 11 questions asked by TRAI in its Consultation Paper on 'Issues related to Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting in India,' the pubcaster says that the terrestrial platform must be digital to remain viable in the long term.

Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar had told in an interview earlier that it had cleared DTT for the private sector more than a year ago.

Given the vast landscape of the country, Prasar Bharati says DTT is absolutely vital. It is thus crucial to ensure that, in the long term, the terrestrial distribution networks should be capable of delivering the current and future, advanced linear broadcast services, and fulfilling the  ever-increasing  requirements for quality and  choice  of services, including non-linear broadcast services.

The benefits offered by DTT according to the pubcaster are:

•         Near-universal coverage,

•         Ability to provide for fixed, portable and mobile reception,

            Ability to efficiently provide regional and local content

•         It is flexibility and content format agnostic. The newer formats of TV channels such as HD TV, 3D TV, UHD TV, data and radio services etc. can thus be delivered.

•         Technical and cost efficiency,

•         Efficient  use  of  spectrum  as  multiple  program channels  can  be transmitted using one TV spectrum channel of 8 MHz

•         Network has ruggedness and not prone to catastrophic failure and sabotage from enemies

•         Terrestrial broadcasting has strategic importance along the borders

•         A potential for further development.

Even with the presence of huge number of DTH and cableTV channels, a strong terrestrial platform is critical to healthy competition in the TV and radio market and to the realisation of a wide range of social and cultural benefits and most essentially an all-weather reliable platforms for the distribution of radio and TV signals, says the pubcaster.

As indicated in the consultation paper, there are 247 million households in India as per the 2011 census, and a large number of these, particularly in rural and remote areas, depend completely on the FTA (free-to-air) terrestrial broadcasting TV services provided by the public broadcaster.

Thus, in order to meet consumer expectations and ensure optimum utilization of resources, a digital terrestrial TV service having suitable bouquet of TV channels and nationwide coverage is very essential, says the pubcaster.

It stresses that DTT is being provided in FTA mode in most of the countries. Its capability to provide local content will facilitate in providing social benefits of promoting local talent, local culture and music, generating employment, catering to local self-governance information needs, etc.

This powerful combination would be difficult to replicate by any single alternative technology. DTT secures greater plurality in platform ownership, ensuring that no single platform owner is so powerful that it can exert undue influence on public opinion, and hence is the need for every country.

DTT broadcasting has emerged as one of the popular digital television platforms in countries such as the UK, the US, Japan, Germany, France and Australia as it turns out to be one of the most economical broadcast transmission systems. In the DTT broadcasting process, everybody watches the same content at the same time, and it guarantees everybody the same high level of service, since they are all bathed in the same signal, and that too free to air, whereas, in OTT, the received signal quality depends upon number of viewers watching it, simultaneously.

By the end of 2015, DTT constituted the second highest user base worldwide among the digital TV broadcast platforms next only to that of digital cable TV services.

The pubcaster feels that, to optimise the time and resources, DTT can be started with two multiplexes at each location, and can be enhanced to three/four in due course of time, may be after analogue switchoff (ASO). Nation-wide coverage plan may further be implemented in time-bound phased manner as has been done in the case of implementation of DAS cable system.
Don't post full and long Articles :k:no
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