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       The  European Commission has adopted a number of  communica-
       tions,  presented by Vice-President Narjes, with a  view  to
       ensuring  that Europe occupies a place in the  forefront  of
       developments  in  the field  of  high-definition  television
       HDTV),  direct television broadcasting by satellite and  ad-
       vanced telecommunications in general.
       HIGH_definition  television : the Commission defines a  plan
       of  action  and  announce its participation  in  the  EUREKA
       At  the  recent meeting in Dubrovnik of the  United  Nations
       specialized  agency CCIR (International  Radio  Consultative
       Committee),  the rappresentatives of the Commission  and  of
       the Community Member States successfully prevented the adop-
       tion  of technical standards, proposed by the  Japanese  and
       backed  by the Americans, in respect of the three  principal
       elements  making up the high-definition  television  system,
       namely  in-studio production, transmission to  the  receiver
       location and the receiver itself.
       In point of fact, the Japanese proposals represented a "leap
       into  the unknwon" and amounted to a deliberate  break  with
       existing television systems. Europe, however, considers that
       it  is  essential to adopt standards compatible  with  these
       systems, thus ensuring their gradual standards  development,
       rather than abandoning the existing equipment overnight.
       In view of the fact that the CCIR opted for a period of  re-
       flection of about two years prior to taking a decision on an
       international  HDTV standard, the task now is to  coordinate
       European efforts not only with a view to securing the  adop-
       tion of standards corresponding to our needs but also with a
       view to getting suitable equipment on to the market. Such is
       the aim of the communication adopted by the Commission, out-
       lining  a  global  approach  to  the  technological  aspects
       (production and transmission of images), industrial  aspects
       (professional  and general equipment, programme  production)
       and regulatory aspects (along the lines set out in the green
       paper on the audio-visual sector).
       (1) COM (86) 325
                              -  2  -
       In  practice, a plan of action will be drawn up  before  the
       summer incorporating, in particular, developments within the
       framework  of the Community's RACE programme.  In  addition,
       the Commission will be taking part in the EUREKA projects on
       high-definition television put forward by Thomson,  Philips,
       Bosch and Thorn/EMI at the next EUREKA ministerial  meeting,
       due to be held in London on 30 June.
       presses the Council to adopt the MAC/packet standards
       Here  too, the task is to develop and use  common  standards
       that  are also suitable for the purposes  of  retransmission
       over  existing  cable networks. To this  end,  the  European
       Broadcasting   Unin  (EBU)  and  the  European   electronics
       industry have developed the MAC/packet family of appropriate
       systems  (MAC  :  multiplexed analogue  components).  On  22
       January  1986 the Commission, for its part,  transmitted  to
       the  Council  a proposal for a directive seeking  to  ensure
       that no other system is authorized by the Governments of the
       Member  States, in an effort to avoid the  proliferation  in
       Europe  of incompatible standards following the  unfortunate
       experiences resulting from the PAL/SECAM rivalry.
       The  communication adopted by the Commission seeks,  on  the
       one  hand,  to confirm this voluntary approach and,  on  the
       other,  to press the Council to adopt this proposal  at  its
       next meeting.
       COMMUNITY  TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY : the development of  a
       genuine  Euroean telecommunications area is proceeding  step
       by step_
       The  third  communication adopted by  the  Commission  takes
       stock  of  progress  to date with regard  to  the  Community
       telecommunications programme :
       - concertation on the development of telecommunications
         networks and services in the Community and common in-
         frastructure projects;
       - creation of a Community market in terminals and equip-
       - development of the technologies necessary for the esta-
         blishment of future broadband networks:
                              -  3  -
       - improved access for the less favoured regions of the
         Community to the benefit of the development of advanced
         services and networks;
       - coordination of negotiating positions within internatio-
         nal organizations dealing with telecommunications.
       Although  the  above  programme  did  not  receive   Council
       approval  until December 1984, it nevertheless  represent  a
       considerable  step  forward.  Close  cooperation  among  the
       various Community protagonists - Commission, Member  States,
       PTT  administrations, manufacturers, standardization  bodies
       -is more essential than ever for the attainment of a genuine
       European telecommunications area.
       Lastly,  the  Commission whishes to announce  a  forthcoming
       document on current changes in the telecommunications sector
       and on the approach to be adopted at Community level in  the
       light of these developments.

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