To identify a possible transition strategy for the use of the 700 MHz band in Italy. The band is currently used for TV broadcasting, although allocated to the mobile service by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). At European level the discussion on the future use of the band is on-going.
In Italy the 700 MHz band is widely used for television broadcasting services and major investments have been dedicated to broadcasting networks in the recent years. However, the 700 MHz band is particularly well suited to deliver 4G/5G services and this has contributed to the allocation of the band to mobile. Future use of the band will impact on different stakeholders, including broadcasters, content providers, mobile operators, regulatory bodies, citizens, and professional users (PMSE).
The ITU "World Radiocommunication Conference 2012" (WRC-12) has allocated the 700 MHz band (694-790 MHz) in Region 1, including Europe, to the mobile services as from 2015.
In this context, the project aimed to outline a possible strategy for the future use of the 700 MHz band in Italy, according to what discussed and proposed at EU level and taking into account the Italian television market and users.
For this purpose:
- a technological and trend analysis has been performed in relation to the evolution of the international regulation, with particular focus on the introduction of DVB-T2 standards and HEVC video coding techniques;
- activities related to the so called ‘Lamy Report’ and its second consultation phase have been monitored, having in mind the Italian situation;
- for an informed analysis of possible medium-term scenarios for the provision of TV services, the total amount of transmission capacity actually employed for TV broadcasting in the UHF band 470-790 MHz has been estimated in a sample area;
- the penetration in Italy of TV sets equipped with DVB-T2 and MPEG-4/HEVC decoding has been evaluated;
- different evolutionary scenarios for the use of the band 700 have been outlined, considering the technological transition to DVB-T2/HEVC; for them:
- major costs for adapting the networks have been considered, such as the update or replacement of transmission equipment, the purchase of new video encoders, the upgrade of production studios, etc.;
- the average revenues have been estimated and adopted for the assessment of market value of asingle MUX, separately for national and local broadcasters;
- the costs for technological upgrade of households’ DTT receivers have been analysed and the customer economic ability to cope with this upgrade has been discussed.