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    Tuesday, 4 September 2007

    Catch-up (July): EC 'selects' champion mobile tv technology

    On July 18, Vivianne Reding - the EC Commissioner for the Information Society and Media - announced that the Commission would promote a specific technology for use in mobile tv, and published a Communication on Strengthening the Internal Market for Mobile TV (see here for FAQs). The Commission considers that a common technical standard will allow for the attainment of critical mass in cases for business development. In the face of the risk of fragmentation, it highlighted the DVB-H technology as the strongest contender for future terrestrial Mobile TV deployment in Europe. The Commission also recognised the need for appropriate radio spectrum resources, and asserted that a coordinated approach to the attribution of spectrum at European level is essential to reap the benefits of switchover and to allow for new, innovative services to be deployed across the Union.

    In terms of tangible action, the Commission promised to promote consensus around DVB-H as a common open standard; to include DVB-H in the official list of standards of the EU; to monitor the implementation by the Member States, possibly making DVB-H mandatory; to identify best practices for national authorisation regimes, and to develop an EU digital dividend strategy.

    While some commentators have expressed little surprise at this move (certainly it has been trailed), others have considered it strange (1). A general preference has been expressed, at least in the UK, for market as opposed to political determination of successful technologies. Moreover, writing in the Guardian, Anthony Lilley concludes that an apparent lack of consumer interest in mobile tv (as opposed to mobile video) may soon leave the debate seeming redundant and quaint.

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