Less than a year to go release of frequencies at 700 MHz with the transition to standard DVB T2 which will allow the telecommunications sector to release a very important band for i 5G mobile services.
The 700 MHz band and the new DVB-T2 standard
The band of 700 MHz radio spectrum is the one currently used by digital terrestrial TV, which starting from July 2022 will be instead used by mobile operators for the provision of 5G services, after the frequency auction held in 2018.
For this reason, until June 2022, television broadcasts will gradually be moved to other frequencies, with some measures to facilitate the transition to the new DVB-T2 standard, namely the second generation digital terrestrial.
Compared to the current DVB-T, the new standard also allows an improvement in visual and image quality, also changing the signal encoding that will take place through HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) support.
The Government’s road map
The Government, especially through the Ministry of Economic Development, has been committed in recent years to ensure and facilitate the transition to the new standard. Already in 2018 the first TV 4.0 Table was established precisely to define the modalities and timing of the transition between the two technologies, consequent to the process of freeing the frequencies in the 700 MHz band in favor of 5G.
The Ministerial Decree of 19 June 2019 has approved the Road Map establishing the timing for the release of the 700 band, dividing the country into areas with certain deadlines. The process, which began in 2020, will end in June 2022.
All this, in agreement with the European Union, which had in fact decided to sell this band to mobile telephony, but halving the frequencies for Italian TV (also due to the need to coordinate the frequencies with neighboring countries).
The aforementioned DVB-T2 system will allow broadcasters to transmit the same amount of channels despite the reduction in frequencies, while initiating the redistribution process required for 5G.
The progressive re-tuning for the reassignment of channels 50-52 and the relocation of the local programs former channels 51-53 had already started in January 2020.
From 1 September 2021 the progressive re-tuning for the implementation of the National Frequency Allocation Plan, with the distribution of frequencies among the broadcasters of the television service that will lead users to have to constantly re-tune the channels.
In detail, from 1st September 2021 to 31st December 2021 will be affected by the process l’Area 2 (Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Lombardy except the province of Mantua, the province of Piacenza, the province of Trento, the province of Bolzano) e l’Area 3 (Veneto, province of Mantua, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Emilia Romagna except the province of Piacenza).
Instead, from 1st January 2022 to 31st March 2022 it will be the turn ofArea 1, which includes Liguria, Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, Campania and Sardinia. Finally, from 1 April 2022 to 20 June 2022 it will end with l’Area 4 which includes Sicily, Calabria, Puglia, Basilicata, Molise and Marche.
Below a summary image taken from the MiSE website.
Activation of the MPEG-4 encoding is also expected from the end of this year. Precisely, on 1 September 2021 the compression and encoding standard will change, which will pass from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 or higher, while from 21 to 30 June 2022 it will definitely pass from DVB-T to DVB-T2.
Measures to facilitate the transition to the new DVB-T2 standard
As mentioned above, the MiSE provided for the payment of a TV bonus recognized as a discount on the sale price a new TV or an external decoder to allow full compatibility with the DVB-T2 standard.
Just recently, Minister Giorgetti instead signed the implementing decree on the TV Scrapping Bonus to facilitate the purchase of compatible terminals.
The new bonus, obtained at the same time as the scrapping of a television purchased before 22 December 2018, will consist of a 20% discount on the sale price of the equipment, up to a maximum of 100 euros.
Unlike the TV Bonus for families with an ISEE of less than 20,000 euros and equal to 50 euros, the benefit will be provided to all citizens without discrimination and until the available resources are exhausted, in any case by 31 December 2022.
The Bordoni Foundation survey on transmission standards
According to an analysis conducted by Bordoni Foundation and presented by the MiSE, carried out in March 2021, there was a significant increase in the number of families who have adapted to new transmission standard, equal to 58.2% of the total of those using digital terrestrial. In other words, the number of families is between 12.9 and 14.7 million.
According to the survey, the situation would be encouraging especially if we consider that the number of households that have a TV set capable of MPEG-4 encoding amounts to about 92%.
By September 2021, according to the estimates made, the families that still have to adapt to the new DVB-T2 standard should fall between 9 and 10.2 million.
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