Brussels, 17 March 2008
Today, the Commission decided to add the Digital Video Broadcasting Handheld standard (DVB-H) to the EU List of Standards, which serves as a basis for encouraging the harmonised provision of telecommunications across the EU. The addition of DVB-H is a new step towards establishing a Single Market for Mobile TV in Europe that will enable all EU citizens to watch TV on the move. Mobile TV could reach a market of up to € 20 billion by 2011, reaching some 500 million customers worldwide.
"For Mobile TV to take off in Europe, there must first be certainty about the technology. This is why I am glad that with today's decision, taken by the Commission in close coordination with the Member States and the European Parliament, the EU endorse DVB-H as the preferred technology for terrestrial mobile broadcasting," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for the Information Society and Media. The next steps for implementing the EU strategy on mobile broadcasting will include guidance on the authorisation regimes as well as the promotion of rights management systems based, as is DVB-H, on open standards"
An EU-wide adoption of DVB-H will provide operators/industry with the necessary market scale to launch mass Mobile TV services across the EU. A European common standard will also benefit consumers, who will be able to watch TV on their own phones or mobile devices at any time, anywhere across Europe. After publication of the Commission decision in the EU List of Standards in the EU's Official Journal, Member States will be required to encourage the use of DVB-H. This clear support to the DVB family of standards is also an important signal given to third countries about to take a decision on the technology for digital and mobile broadcasting, using DVB-T, DVB-H and DVB-SH.
DVB-H is currently the most widely used standard for Mobile TV in the EU. DVB-H is currently between trials and commercial launch in 16 countries. Commercial DVB-H services are already available in Italy, with further launches expected later this year notably in Finland, Austria, France, Switzerland and Spain.
A transparent intellectual property rights regime, based on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and allowing low price of devices, is key to the success of Mobile TV. The Commission will therefore continue to closely monitor progress made towards the constitution of the DVB-H patent pool.
Efficient procedures for authorising Mobile TV operators are essential for the fast take-up of the service. In February 2008, the Commission discussed best practice for Mobile TV authorisation with industry and Member States, asking for contributions on the issue from all stakeholders. Guidelines on best practice are currently under preparation to help Member States to deploy Mobile TV without delay. Light-touch regulation and clear licensing regimes will give industry the legal certainty they need to launch their Mobile TV services without undue impediments.
In July 2007 the Commission proposed a strategy for promoting Mobile TV across Europe (see IP/07/1118, MEMO/07/298). It included the use of the open standard DVB-H – which has been developed by European industry, partly with the support of EU research funds – as the common standard for terrestrial Mobile TV across Europe. The Council of Telecoms Ministers endorsed the European Commission's strategy on Mobile TV in November 2007 (see IP/07/1815).
The Commission considers 2008 to be a crucial year for Mobile TV take-up in the EU due to important sports events, such as the European Football Championship and the Summer Olympic Games, which will provide a unique opportunity for raising consumers' awareness and for the adoption of new services.
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Article 17 of EU Directive 2002/21/EC
1. The Commission, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 22(2), shall draw up and publish in the Official Journal of the European Communities a list of standards and/or specifications to serve as a basis for encouraging the harmonised provision of electronic communications networks, electronic communications services and associated facilities and services. Where necessary, the Commission may, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 22(2) and following consultation of the Committee established by Directive 98/34/EC, request that standards be drawn up by the European standards organisations (European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC), and European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)).
2. Member States shall encourage the use of the standards and/or specifications referred to in paragraph 1, for the provision of services, technical interfaces and/or network functions, to the extent strictly necessary to ensure interoperability of services and to improve freedom of choice for users.
As long as standards and/or specifications have not been published in accordance with paragraph 1, Member States shall encourage the implementation of standards and/or specifications adopted by the European standards organisations.
In the absence of such standards and/or specifications, Member States shall encourage the implementation of international standards or recommendations adopted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) or the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
Where international standards exist, Member States shall encourage the European standards organisations to use them, or the relevant parts of them, as a basis for the standards they develop, except where such international standards or relevant parts would be ineffective.
3. If the standards and/or specifications referred to in paragraph 1 have not been adequately implemented so that interoperability of services in one or more Member States cannot be ensured, the implementation of such standards and/or specifications may be made compulsory under the procedure laid down in paragraph 4, to the extent strictly necessary to ensure such interoperability and to improve freedom of choice for users.
4. Where the Commission intends to make the implementation of certain standards and/or specifications compulsory, it shall publish a notice in the Official Journal of the European Communities and invite public comment by all parties concerned. The Commission, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 22(3), shall make implementation of the relevant standards compulsory by making reference to them as compulsory standards in the list of standards and/or specifications published in the Official Journal of the European Communities.