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European Commission guidelines push rollout of continent’s mobile TV to mobile phones

Back in July 2007, the European Commission proposed a strategy for promoting mobile TV across Europe, including the use of the open-standard DVB-H as the common standard for terrestrial mobile TV across Europe. This March, the commission endorsed the addition of DVB-H to the EU list of official standards. This month, the commission issued a set of mobile TV guideline that the agency says will foster a coherent, favorable regulatory environment for mobile TV deployment across the EU.

“With predicted growth in sales during the Christmas period, many more Europeans should have the opportunity to watch TV on the go," said Viviane Reding, EU telecoms and media commissioner.

"This is why we want to give member states guidance on how to allow industry to get these innovative services on track as quickly and smoothly as possible. We stand for a collaborative approach between all actors involved including broadcasters, mobile operators and platforms operators, and we oppose heavy regulation or burdensome authorization procedures for the introduction of mobile TV in Europe."

In its report, the commission offered regulators and member governments high-level policy guidelines for authorizing mobile TV services:

  • Provide a straightforward, transparent and non-discriminatory procedure for awarding licenses in order to avoid delays.
  • Make the service quality delivered to customers — including indoor coverage and transmission quality — part of award conditions.
  • Withdraw the assigned mobile TV frequencies if the service does not start within a reasonable period of time.
  • Open the authorization process to all industry players and encourage cooperation between telecoms operators (providing the service) and broadcasters (providing the content).
  • Make a commitment to the interoperability of DVB-H-based mobile TV services in every EU country and choose non-proprietary technologies that all consumers can use to access mobile TV content without extra plug-ins, regardless of device.

So far, only a handful of member countries — Austria, Finland, France and Germany — have adopted legislation for new mobile TV services.

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