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IRIS 2018-2:1/12

Czech Republic

Czech television starts transition to DVB-T2-Standard

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Ingo Beckendorf

Institute of European Media Law (EMR), Saarbrücken/Brussels

The Czech public service broadcaster, Česká televize (ČT), has announced the start of its transition to the DVB-T2 HEVC standard following a delay caused by an amendment to the Electronic Communications Act that only came into force on 2 September 2017. Under the amended timetable, technical preparations are now due to take place between January and March 2018, before the broadcaster can begin using the transition multiplex. By the end of June 2018, 95% of the population will be able to receive the new broadcast standard, and the switch to DVB-T2 HEVC should be complete throughout the Czech Republic by June 2020. Transmitters using the outdated DVB-T standard, which is still currently in use, will be gradually shut down from mid-2019 onwards.    

The two chambers of the parliament in Prague had originally approved the switch to the new DVB-T2-HEVC standard, which is necessary in order to prevent potential disruption around the German and Austrian borders. Many Czech viewers need to buy new TV sets, which the government estimates will cost around EUR 200 each.  

The Czech Parliament had adopted the Electronic Communications Act on 22 February 2005. The main changes brought in by the Act were designed to facilitate market access through the introduction of a new system for issuing and cancelling licences. In compliance with EU regulations, individual licences only covered the use of frequencies and telephone numbers. Another important innovation was the introduction of regular analysis of relevant markets, which make it possible to implement flexible, transparent regulatory measures for the electronic communications market.

The act also increased some of the powers of the Czech Telecommunications Office (ČTÚE), an independent monitoring body for the telecommunications sector that performs regulatory functions and routine administrative tasks, mainly in relation to the application of the Telecommunications Act. As the independent national regulator responsible for electronic communications, the ČTÚE monitors infrastructure-related aspects of electronic communications networks and services. Another important part of its role is to arbitrate in disputes related to broadcasting. Under the new law, it has flexible powers to impose special obligations on providers with substantial market power.

References
Část diváků ČT musí přeladit. Kvůli přechodu na druhou generaci digitální televize, 13.12.2017 CS
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=18881
 
  Press release of 13 December 2017