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IRIS 2018-7:1/28

Romania

Results of the public consultation on the allotment of radio spectrum for terrestrial digital broadcasting

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Eugen Cojocariu

Radio Romania International

The Autoritatea Naţională pentru Administrare şi Reglementare în Comunicaţii (National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications, ANCOM) has published the results of a questionnaire on spectrum allotment for terrestrial digital broadcast multiplexes, which was issued in March 2018 (see, inter alia, IRIS 2009-9/26, IRIS 2010-3/34, IRIS 2010-9/35, IRIS 2012-8/34, IRIS 2013-6/30, IRIS 2014-4/26, IRIS 2014-5/29, IRIS 2014-9/27, IRIS 2015-5/33, IRIS 2015-7/28, IRIS 2016-2/26, IRIS 2017-1/29, IRIS 2017-4/32, IRIS 2018-5/29).

Following the consultation with the electronic communications market regarding the allocation of the spectrum available on the VHF and UHF band for digital terrestrial broadcasting services, ANCOM will propose some legislative amendments that will allow the auctioning in 2018 of digital terrestrial broadband multiplexes, said Sorin Grindeanu, President of ANCOM.

The proposed legislative amendments would (i) allow the auctioning of digital terrestrial broadcast multiplexing, (ii) call for proposals to set the licence fee for T-DAB multiplexes, and (iii) amend the decision on the charging procedure for the use of radio spectrum. After the auction, proposals would be made to (i) change the strategy for the transition from analogue terrestrial to digital terrestrial television and (ii) implement multimedia services at national level in order to encourage the development of digital terrestrial broadcasting systems T-DAB+.

For the spectrum available on the VHF band (174-230MHz), the proposals received by the Authority were aimed at transforming the VHF digital television multiplex into four T-DAB + national multiplexes. This change would allow for more spectral resources for digital terrestrial digital broadcasting, thus creating a larger number of programmes, both national and regional/local, as well as a multiplex dedicated to broadcasting public programmes. Another option that will be considered when planning the auction is the division into four T-DAB+ national multiplexes in the 174-216 MHz band, and forty-seven regional multiplexes in the 216-230 MHz band; this would create an environment favourable to the dissemination of a large number of programmes of different genres, of maximum quality.

Regarding the UHF band (470-694 MHz), the respondents appreciated that the sharing of spectrum resources in a national multiplex and thirty-six regional multiplexes (MUX 3) would constitute a balanced solution, considering that the option of allocating two national multiplexes (MUX 3 and MUX 6) would be preferable as regards the profit that could be obtained through sales of the Frequency User Licensee in respect of the two national multiplexes.

Regarding the service coverage obligations for T-DAB+ and DVB-T2, the respondents considered it preferable to impose both geographical and demographic coverage obligations on the national multiplex in respect of the broadcasting of public radio programmes and the installation of a number of transmitters for the other T-DAB+ multiplexes and DVB-T2 multiplexes. At the same time, it was considered necessary to lay down a schedule regarding the coverage obligations for the multiplex dedicated to the broadcasting of public broadcasting programmes; this would govern the first-stage coverage of densely populated urban areas and the main road and rail links, followed by the extension of coverage to national level.

Concerning the content of T-DAB+ multiplexes, the respondents considered that this should be made up of diverse national and regional public and private audio programming, as well as niche, specialised and/or generated content for periods of time associated with events of general interest - together with any associated and independent data and images). As regards DVB-T2 multiplexes, content should be the same as that allowed to the multiplexes; it follows that the current legislation needs to be amended so that the operators of these multiplexes have the same set-up rights as those enjoyed by the other platforms (CATV, DTH, etc.).

References
ANCOM a publicat rezultatele chestionarului referitor la alocarea spectrului pentru multiplexurile de radiodifuziune digitală terestră - comunicat de presă 09.05.2018 RO
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=19145
 
  ANCOM issued the results of the questionnaire on the allotment of radio spectrum for terrestrial digital broadcasting services - press release 09 2018