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1 Digital TV Transition in the United States Alexander Roytblat International Bureau Federal Communications Commission 2012 Latin American Spectrum Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Digital TV Transition in the United States Alexander Roytblat International Bureau Federal Communications Commission 2012 Latin American Spectrum Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Digital TV Transition in the United States Alexander Roytblat International Bureau Federal Communications Commission 2012 Latin American Spectrum Conference Mexico City, Mexico October 25, 2012

2 2 Digital TV Spectrum 700 MHz  108 MHz of UHF spectrum reclaimed in the 700 MHz band ( MHz CH52-69 ) 74 MHz commercial use (assigned by auction) 34 MHz public safety (no auction) 600 MHz  Central goal: repurposing the maximum amount of UHF band spectrum for flexible licensed and unlicensed use  Expect a healthy, diverse broadcast television service following the auction

3 700 MHz

4 4 700 MHz Auction Results Revenue  Net auction proceeds were $19.6 billion  MHz auction (Auction 73) yielded $1.287/MHz- pop Timing   Auction completed prior to the analog switch-off date Auction winners include:  Major operators (Verizon, AT&T);  Wireless broadband, mobile TV

5 5 Expenditures on the Transition FCC spent nearly $129.5 million on outreach activities to educate consumers about the DTV transition The U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) spent almost $1.4 billion on the coupon program subsidizing the purchase of digital-to-analog converters.  35 million coupons redeemed  2,000 retailers in 30,000 locations  Program was discontinued less than 2 months after transition

6 6 Expenditures on the Transition (2) The TV broadcasters spent $1.2 billion on their own outreach activities, including on-air announcements, consumer publications, and public appearances. As a whole, broadcasters spent approximately $10 billion for the technical changes needed to transition to digital broadcasting  Individually, TV stations spent $1 to 2 million for construction of new digital transmission and broadcasting facilities, including equipment and studios for high definition production

7 700 MHz Band Plan 2012 update

8 8 700 MHz DTV Transition Building Blocks Broadcaster Buildout  Over-the-air broadcasting U.S. had 1,800 full power analog television stations pre-transition Fewer than 10 stations did not transition and ceased broadcasting Major U.S. local markets have local television stations  Pay Television Almost 90% of U.S. television households subscribe to a pay service, either cable or satellite Even in pay households, some TV sets rely on over-the-air reception  Satellite and cable transitioned voluntarily to digital Digital, HD pay programming competes with broadcast programming Consumer Equipment  DTV tuner requirement for receivers  Government subsidy for converter boxes Consumer Outreach Cross-Border Coordination

9 9 Lessons Learned Setting a hard date for switch-off is important, but be flexible to change switch-off date if not ready Consistent message is important Early transition for a few markets “ Soft tests ”  Coordinate across all stations in a market  Combine with a local “call-in” center Pay attention to receiving antennas Low VHF (channels 2-6) subject to reception problems (more than anticipated) “Night light” service after switch-off date

10 600 MHz

11 11 Next Step – 600 MHz September FCC voted on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) 771,000 New Jobs by 2015* Mobile Data Explosion 300m active cellphones Smartphones: 35x more data than traditional cellphones 35x increase in mobile broadband traffic by 2015 Without additional spectrum: expect delays, more dropped calls & slower downloads Job Creation Tablets: 121x more data than traditional cellphones

12 MHz Transition Three major components of 600 MHz transition: “Reverse Auction” -- broadcast television licensees submit bids to voluntarily relinquish spectrum usage rights in exchange for payments; “Repacking” -- rearrange broadcast television bands in order to free up a portion of UHF band for other uses; and “Forward Auction” -- auction initial licenses for flexible use of the newly available spectrum.

13 13 Proposed 600 MHz Band Plan Amount of spectrum available is auction-dependent/currently unknown: “X cleared” (downlink) and “Y cleared” (uplink) 600 MHz Uplink located at channel 51 (698 MHz) and expands downward 600 MHz Downlink located at channel 36 (608 MHz) and expands downward 5 megahertz blocks proposed, paired wherever possible Proposes 6 megahertz guard bands (GB), available for unlicensed use LMR 700MHz Uplink 600MHz Downlink TV Channels14to N=(36-X/6) TV Channels 38to M=(51-Y/6) 600MHz Uplink 3 7 G u a r d B a n d G u a r d B a n d 608-X698-Y Y clearedX cleared

14 14 Other Services and Unlicensed Use Seeks comment on existing secondary services Significant opportunities for unlicensed use ◦ Remaining white spaces in repacked TV bands ° First consistent nationwide availability of low- band unlicensed spectrum

15 15 International Regulatory Aspects Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility…. No more “easy” spectrum but demand is growing Current international radio regulations do not provide adequate flexibility for countries in the Americas (i.e., Region 2) to recognize national priorities in MHz band Allow each country to decide on the use of MHz based on its national priorities Solution: At WRC-15 concerning MHz band: keep broadcasting allocation allocate to Mobile Service/IMT Region 3 approach

16 16 DISCLAIMER Opinions expressed in this presentation are those of the speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of the FCC or any other member of its staff

17 17 THANK YOU! Alexander Roytblat tel:

18 18 Additional Information on 700 MHz Digital TV Transition

19 MHz Broadcaster Buildout Timeline for stations to construct their digital transmission facilities:  Affiliates of top 4 commercial networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC) in top 30 markets in 1999  All other commercial stations by May 2002  All noncommercial stations (400 of the 1800 total full power stations) by May 2003

20 MHz Consumer Equipment FCC required manufacturers to include the Advanced Television Systems Committee (“ATSC”) tuner in television sets Requirement phased-in:  Sets ~90 cm and above – 50% by July 2004; 100% by July 2005  Set ~60-90 cm – 50% by July 2005; 100% by March 2006  All sets and TV devices – 100% by March 2007 Labeling:  Consumer Alert required for all analog-only TV equipment as of May 2007

21 21 Cable/Satellite Satellite and cable transitioned voluntarily to digital  Satellite is digital only; most cable systems offer analog and digital packages Cable and satellite operators are both subject to signal carriage requirements  Cable systems are required to carry all local stations in every market  Satellite (DBS) operators are required to carry all local stations if they choose to carry any local stations in a market (“carry-one, carry-all”).  Neither cable nor satellite operators are required to carry multicast sub-channels

22 MHz Consumer Outreach Outreach efforts began in 2007 Focused on consumers likely to need the most help.  Targeted all TV viewers.  Focused on those who rely on over-the-air (terrestrial) broadcasting and do not subscribe to a pay service  Also concentrated on reaching and helping senior citizens, minorities, non-English speakers, those with disabilities, low income consumers, and those living in rural areas or on tribal lands

23 MHz Consumer Outreach (2) Used FCC’s existing toll-free call center, CALL-FCC. Created a DTV website,  Website contained publications, frequently asked questions, explanatory charts for installing converter boxes, troubleshooting guides, antenna information and mapping tools.  All publications were available in English and Spanish.  Key publications were translated into 29 languages.

24 MHz Consumer Outreach (3) Trained a team of 200 Commission staff who traveled throughout the country  Team members provided direct outreach to consumers and developed partnerships with local governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations Established national partnerships with:  Government agencies (e.g., the National Telecommunications and Information Administration)  Industry groups representing broadcasters, cable operators, television manufacturers, and retailers  National consumer groups

25 MHz Consumer Outreach (4) FCC contracted with businesses for in-home installation services and walk-in help centers throughout the country. Required outreach efforts by industry  Broadcasters: Public Service Announcements, Walk-in Help Centers  Pay Television Operators: Monthly Notices in Customer Billing Statements

26 MHz Cross-Border Coordination Shared border with Canada and Mexico Two key documents governed the U.S. transition:  1998 U.S.-Mexico DTV Memorandum of Understanding  2000 Letter of Understanding between the FCC and Industry Canada Work continues New agreements also necessary for “Digital Dividend” Engage neighbors early in process

27 MHz Analog Switch-Off Prior to the DTV Act of 2005, the “soft” deadline for the transition was December 31, 2006 Congressional DTV Act of 2005 (enacted in 2006)  Established February 17, 2009 as the “hard” deadline for all full power television stations to terminate analog broadcasting  Also required all full power stations to vacate channels ( MHz) by that date  Created the DTV converter box coupon subsidy program Every U.S. household entitled to up to two coupons, each worth $40 towards the purchase of a digital-to-analog converter In January 2009, Congress extended the hard deadline from February 17 to June 12, 2009


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