ANACOM debates digital dividend

One of the key issues in the transition to terrestrial digital broadcasting is the potential spectrum that could become freed up with the switch-off of analogue television broadcasting - the so-called digital dividend. This opens up a range of possibilities for the use of this spectrum, including the provision of a wide range of services.

These could involve new or enhanced broadcasting services, such as a larger number of programmes, better image quality, better audio quality, data and interactive services, mobile TV and High Definition transmission; convergent services, which combine features of mobile telephony and terrestrial broadcasting, such as ''data broadcasting'' for mobile reception; and other services.

The spectrum which will potentially be freed up is the target of growing demand in modern society: spectrum is used by all types of wireless services, ranging from professional uses such as radionavigation, satellite or radar communications, to consumer applications such as broadcasting or fixed and mobile communications.

To the extent that the distribution of the digital dividend constitutes a national right, with the Member States of the European Union having the power to manage the freed up spectrum according to their national interest and applicable national legislation, it is important that governments and regulatory authorities stand up for the public interest by ensuring that full advantage will be taken of this spectrum at a social and economic level.

In this context ANACOM - Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações will hold a workshop on April 16, addressing the theme ''Digital Dividend: Market Challenges and Public Interest Goals''.

The event, which will open with a speech by José Ferrari Careto, a director of ANACOM, will be attended by officials of the European Commission, OFCOM and representatives of the Spanish government, as well as by manufacturers and mobile telephone and television operators. The event will be concluded by José Alberto de Azeredo Lopes and José Amado da Silva, the chairs of ANACOM and ERC.

Participation in the workshop is free and open to all interested parties, but prior registration is required.

Participants should complete their registration by 14 April 2009 on ANACOM's website where the provisional programme of the workshop can also be found. The event will be held in the Almada Negreiros room in the Belém Cultural Centre in Lisbon.