Nokia demonstration of the flexibility of the UHF TV broadcast band

Nokia, Qualcomm and Finnish public service broadcaster Yle last week gave a demonstration of LTE Supplemental Downlink (SDL) in a TV broadcast band and in particular, the co-existence of SDL and Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT).

The event took place at the Nokia headquarters in Espoo near Helsinki and was attended by members of the broadcasting community including media service providers and network opertaotrs, delegates from the European Commission, representatives from regulators, and government.

Overall the demonstration was in support of the recent European proposal to allow flexible use of the sub-700MHz (470-694MHz) band for downlink only services. However the event started with a presentation from Finnish Minister for Transport and Communications—Anne Berner—saying that the European Council should consider fully flexible use of the 470-694 MHz band including uplink and mobile networks should be developed to replace DTT.

Anthony Whelan, Director for Electronic Communications Networks & Services, DG Connect added that flexibility for downlink use is needed in the sub 700 band but with enough direction to avoid fragmentation in the market. This outcome would protect DTT and also provide opportunity to look at innovative solutions and look towards 5G. He pointed out that any solution must guarantee coexistence with DTT as the band’s primary use is broadcast.

Lauri Kivinen, CEO of Yle (Finnish public service provider) said that broadcaster’s obligation is to bring TV to all devices via all networks. The expectation from audiences is video at any time on any device. This requires a need to move from monolithic architecture of ‘high power high tower’ to a flexible hybrid solution of any device on any network. For live TV the use of cellular networks is very interesting but this needs to be prepared for mass audience and not niches. In addition the characteristics of future technologies of broadcast need to be same as now, cheap, easy to access, and robust. 3GPP rel-14 will be suitable in 2-3 years for broadcast of TV and Radio to mass audiences and flexible technology requires flexible spectrum use with article 4 (the proposal to allow flexible use of 470-694 for downlink services) of the commission proposal allowing this. Yle see this as an opportunity to reach millions of users.

Nokia then gave a demonstration of supplementary downlink technology. The demo was in three phases:

1. A service from a DTT mux was shown using channel 53 (730MHz) with a mobile showing a speed testing app using LTE in 2.6GHz;

2. Following this the SDL service was switched on at 770MHz and carrier aggregated with the LTE in 2.6GHz. It was demonstrated that this caused no interference to the DTT services but the mobiles downlink speeds doubled (to 124Mbit/s with SDL from 63Mbit/s without).

3. Lastly a snapshot of interactive services available with the mobile connected to a laptop to deliver catch-up and on demand services as well as live TV.

There was not a demonstration of LTE broadcast with Nokia and Qualcomm adding that developments to eMBMS with 3GPP rel-14 will enable greater opportunities for use of LTE broadcast with handsets including rel-14 features available by around 2019.

Overall the demonstration gave an overview of the possible technologies that could be used in a flexible UHF band however there was no proposals for how the system would be managed in order to avoid interference to DTT or PMSE.

DTG Staff  |  13.09.2016

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