Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Latvia to block potential wireless broadband to save analog TV?

I'm here at SAPPHIRE NOW in Frankfurt, but I'm seeing news reports that a Latvian parliamentary committee is pushing changes in the Law on Electronic Media that would allow regional and small municipal television stations to defy the European Union (EU) mandated switch to all-digital terrestrial broadcasting and continue broadcasting in analog until the end of 2013.
This would throw a wrench into plans to use frequencies freed up by the digital switchover for wireless broadband (possibly 3G) and risk loosing Latvia some EUR 19 million in EU funds earmarked for wireless broadband.
A Ministry of Transport official said that Latvia, in effect was throwing away its digital dividend. Building out wireless broadband in the countryside (and it is countryside folk who parliamentarians are trying to spare the expense of decoders for the digital switchover) without EU support at a later date will be significantly more expensive.
I don't have all the details, but it looks like a typical provincial f**kwit move that will backfire on those it was supposed to benefit.

1 comment:

Bleveland said...

Just some technical facts:

Digital dividend for wireless broadband according to 4G standards is taking place in the upper high end of todays analog TV band (790-862 MHz). On your TV that means the channels 61-69. How many channels do you have there today? I guess not many... none to be precisely. Especially not terrestrial (possibly cable TV, but that can easy be re-scheduled).

In other words it appears likely that the "provincial f*kwit move" simply is driven by total ignorance about what exactly we are talking about here.

It is a Latvian style tragedy. Again. The most tragic is that after all the cock-ups the provincials have caused, they still remain in power. Apart from allowing and causing the complete melt-down of Latvian economy, there was the digital terrestrial TV catastrophe. Just to mention a more "harmless" cock-up. This one caused that Latvia, from being in the front line of digital TV, ended up being one of the last countries moving to digital TV (actually it happens right now, 2010 not 2001).

Regretfully it will happen once more. This time with broadband wireless internet access necessary to liberate all the remote / rural locations in Latvia from the -soon- completely outdated service that Triatel provides. That said with all respect for the guys at Triatel. They would be the fair winner of a licence in the digital dividend band.