Digital Dividend Spectrum

The digital dividend refers to the spectrum which is released in the process of migrating to digital television. When television broadcasters switch from analogue platforms to digital-only platforms, part of the spectrum used for broadcasting will be freed up because digital television needs less spectrum than analogue television. Announced plans for this migration, as of late 2011, are indicated in the figure below [1].

digital dividend

Announced plans for migration to digital television

The Digital Dividend spectrum is located between 200 MHz and 1GHz. The location and size of digital dividend vary among countries due to the factors including geographical position and penetration of satellite/cable services.

This spectrum band offers an excellent balance between transmission capacity and distance coverage. Because of its good signal propagation characteristics, less infrastructure is required to provide wider mobile coverage, meaning that communications services can be provided in rural areas at lower cost.

Many governments are now planning for or allocating their digital dividends. The United States completed its transition on 12 June 2009 and auctioned the spectrum. In the European Union, countries were requested to complete their migration by 1 January 2012 [2]. Some have done this ahead of schedule while Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece, France, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom say they hope to do this by the end of 2012 and Ireland and Poland are on the EU's "not-sure-or-later-than-2012" list.

Endnotes:

[1] The figure is from Rizwan Hassan (Ericsson North Africa) , ‘Digital Dividend : The opportunities to achieve broadband for all’ http://www.tra.gov.eg/annualconference/content/42484cc6-05a2-47f8-8b78-d836b8b92160/File/session3/Rizwan.pdf

[2] http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/radio_spectrum/sectorial/reallocation/dividend/index_en.htm

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