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Brussels, 5 September 2008

Commission welcomes Colombia's decision to join European digital TV standard

The Commission today welcomed the Colombian national regulator's (the National Commission for Television CNTV) selection the European Digital Video Broadcasting standard (DVB-T) for the country's digital terrestrial TV. The terrestrial DVB standard, DVB-T, has already been adopted in Europe and by over 120 countries in Asia, Africa, Oceania and Latin America. The decision by the Colombian regulator will confirm the EU's commitment to working with Colombia and the rest of Latin America to better exploit the potential of ICT and media. Other Latin American countries (such as Peru, Venezuela, Argentina or Chile) are expected to decide soon about their digital TV standard. In August 2007, Uruguay was the first Latin American country to choose to use the DVB family of standards for its digital TV needs (IP/07/1269).

"I am very pleased to see Colombia opting for the open standards of the DVB family, as a result of a decision by the National Commission for Television. I hope that other Latin American countries will take a similar decision soon and seize the opportunity to jointly exploit and develop its potential", said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media." Colombia's decision in favour of an open and affordable technology will help create a vibrant sector full of new interactive content and products, resulting in new investments by EU firms in Colombia and providing a welcome boost to its economy and society."

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner also congratulated the Columbian national regulator: "The choice of DVB standards opens up the wider benefits of the digital age to Colombian citizens. This decision will contribute to further strengthening our bilateral relations and our cooperation in important areas, such as trade, industry, new technology, audiovisual and culture. The adoption of the DVB standard will allow Colombia to develop the potential that information and communication technologies offer, in terms of fostering social cohesion, economic growth, the industrial competitiveness of the country, and cultural diversity".

DVB-T is an open standard, developed in Europe and used worldwide. This standard offers many benefits, such as lower prices, particularly for set-top-boxes, TV sets and broadcasting equipment, due to economies of scale, lower royalties for manufacturers, an enhanced role for television in fostering social inclusiveness thanks to the capacity to provide interactive services at lower prices (including education, health or government services), increased flexibility to meet public and private interests, more varied content from more channels, and export possibilities to the large community of countries that have chosen DVB standards.

Colombian authorities estimate that investment of €145 million will be triggered by the upgrade of the public and private networks. In addition, it will create a new market for household equipment, as it is expected that 25 % of Colombians will already receive digital broadcasts by 2010.

Background information:

DVB-T is an open standard developed by the DVB Consortium with the participation of over 280 broadcasters, manufacturers, network operators, software developers, regulatory bodies and others in over 35 countries around the world. It is part of a family of interoperable standards that are the basis of digital broadcasting around the world, together with, notably, DVB-S for digital satellite TV, DVB-C for digital cable TV and DVB-H for mobile TV. EU-funded research has been instrumental in developing and validating the DVB standards.

With Colombia following the paths of Uruguay, DVB-T is becoming a reference standard in Latin America in the same vein as the global GSM standard for mobile communications.

In July 2007, the Commission encouraged EU Member States and industry to use another DVB-family standard, DVB-H, as the single European standard for terrestrial mobile TV (IP/07/1118). DVB-H is being deployed in a steadily growing number of countries in Europe (it is currently between trials and commercial launches in 16 EU countries), and in other parts of the world such as in Morocco, Indonesia, Russia and Singapore. In March 2008, the European Commission added DVB-H into the EU List of Standards, which serves as a basis for encouraging the harmonised provision of telecommunications across the EU (IP/08/451).

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