National Workshop „Future development and prospects for digital TV in Austria“ held in Vienna
The event was organised by the Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications (RTR) and took place on 21th of May 2012 in Vienna. Around 60 experts followed the interesting presentations on future developments and prospects for digital TV in Austria and actively discussed the upcoming activities and challenges.
After a welcoming speech by the CEO of the RTR, Dr. Alfred Grinschgl, the workshop started with an overview of the SEE digi.TV project. Peter Reindl, a member of the Projects Steering Committee presented the project and the motivation of the RTR to join the project. Reindl also informed about the South East European programme and acquainted the audience with some figures and facts of the SEE digi.TV project.
The deputy chairman of the Austrian Communication Authority (KommAustria), Dr. Florian Philapitsch, gave a general survey about the past activities regarding the introduction of digital TV in Austria. The digitization process in Austria started in the year 2003 with an extended field trial in the region of Graz, which is the second largest city of Austria. The Authorities first digitization concept from the year 2003 included various steps for the introduction of digital TV and also the process of switching off analogue TV transmitter stations. After the roll-out of the main transmitter sites of the first two nationwide multiplexes A and B in the year 2006 the networks for both multiplexes were continuously extended. In the year 2007 the possibilities for local and regional TV programmes were enabled with the multiplex C platform. Dr. Philapitsch commented on the current Austrian digitization concept 2011, which contains the basic points for the introduction of DVB-T2 services in Austria. The upcoming digitization concept 2013 will mainly focus on the introduction of digital audio broadcasting (DAB+), but the final decisions on the main topics depend on the outcome of the public consultation provided by the RTR, which will take place at the beginning of June 2012.
Michael Wagenhofer, CEO of broadcast network operator ORS comm, presented his ideas concerning the new transmission technology DVB-T2. The company ORS comm would like to offer between 30 and 40 free and encrypted TV programmes on a nationwide terrestrial platform. The planned Pay-TV platform includes the frequency resources of the Austrian multiplexes D, E and F. He explained that for a successful business case it will be necessary to reach about ten to twelve per cent of the Austrian TV households. Wagenhofer highlighted that low charge for subscribers and easy handling of the system will be the main advantages of the new terrestrial platform.
Günther Singer, CEO of Austria’s second largest cable network operator LIWEST, presented his first ideas of the planned and upcoming switch off of the existing analogue TV channels in the cable network of LIWEST. Singer stressed several principal advantages of a cable network, especially the high data rate of 100 MBits/s, which is currently available in the LIWEST network. At present his main task is to analyse and define different switch over strategies for the transition from the existing mixed analogue digital situation to full digital TV transmissions in cable networks. He assumes that the switch over duration will take between three and five years.
The Austrian national SEE digi.TV workshop was finished by a presentation of Franz Ziegelwanger, head of the technical department of the Telecommunication Authority. He described his experiences during the last World Radiocommunication Conference this year in Geneva. His explanations to the possible mobile allocation in the frequency range 694 – 790 MHz led to an interesting discussion on the flexible use of frequencies.