Telecom and broadcasting convergence: the feasibility of mobile TV standards
Gathondu, Margaret W.
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Traditionally telecommunication services and broadcasting have always been distinct and regulated by different authorities. While telecommunication has always been perceived as a point to point communication, broadcasting is a point to multipoint communication. With the introduction of wireless, broadband technologies and the internet, it is now possible to transmit voice, data and video on the same media. Therefore the distinction between these services has become blurred. There is a need to review the existing regulatory policies with a view of promoting innovation and economic activities. Mobile phone operators who for a long time have been utilizing the capability of 3G cellular technologies for video streaming are looking forward to offer broadcasting services to reach a wider audience to increase their revenue base. This will require mobile phone operators to be allocated spectrum in the broadcasting UHF band. 3G networks normally become congested and reduce the throughput of core services such as voice and messaging. Current broadcasting systems are not capable of offering interactive services. Broadcasters are looking forward to mobile operators to facilitate them with the well established billing mechanism for commercial subscriptions. Due to the above factors, convergence of telecoms and broadcasting is now inevitable. ITU held two radiocommunication conferences in June 2006 and December 2007 of which member countries agreed on a switch off date from analogue broadcasting to digital on June 15 2015. Realization of the digital divided after releasing part of the spectrum in the UHF band will be utilized for other services such as mobile TV broadcasting. Mobile TV brings the ability of watching TV programs anywhere and anytime. The major advantage is mobility. This research work was aimed at proposing regulatory policies appropriate for successful mobile TV implementation in Kenya and Uganda.