Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information awards contract to Newtec, First Gulf

Newtec and local integration company First Gulf are partnering to implement the next-generation TV and radio exchange network of the Saudi Arabian government's nationwide media transformation program. This initiative involves deployment of myriad satellite-based technologies for a national infrastructure delivering TV, radio and Internet services.

The TV and radio exchange network is a large deployment, providing a state-of-the-art solution for contribution between the studios and broadcast facilities located across the country as well as for the exchange of radio and TV content between locations. The network's first stage of deployment will include HD-capable terminals and a central earth station pointed to Arabsat 5A, which successfully launched in June. The initial deployment will use Ku-band satellite bandwidth with the future option of Ka-band when the upcoming extra satellite capability becomes available.

Newtec's participation with its equipment in this major contract contributes to provision for the expansion of Saudi Arabia's capacity for DTT broadcasting, with the extra capacity being used both for migration to HD of the current channels and to accommodate the first private broadcasters now appearing in the country. The DTT network will migrate from one single MFN bouquet to different SFN bouquets and will be entirely based on Newtec Horizon technology, with up to 80 DTT towers being added throughout the country. In addition, many SFN gap fillers will be added to expand indoor coverage. In-car, portable and indoor reception with a small antenna is critical for the acceptance of DTT in the country.

Saudi Arabia's ambitious multiyear program, overseen by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information, will transform national TV and radio media provision for the country’s young and growing demographic. The program will encompass the entire broadcast chain, including digitization of HD terrestrial TV, expansion of TV and radio contribution/distribution infrastructure, OB and SNG vehicles, studios, production and post production, and archiving and playout facilities.