Orange, Alcatel testing new mobile broadcasting concept

MUMBAI: French space agency Cnes, telecom firm Orange France, and communications solutions provider Alcatel have announced the selection of Toulouse and the Midi-Pyrenees Region in France for the first trial of a system that is central to Alcatel’s "Unlimited Mobile TV" solution.

This trail was outside the laboratories of the main technical characteristics of the new mobile broadcasting solution over a hybrid satellite and terrestrial transmission system using S-band. It is preliminary to the research and development efforts for the terrestrial aspects of the project, made possible with support from the French Industrial Innovation Agency.

The Cnes financed and oversaw the design and deployment of the demonstrator, set the trial schedule, and is leading the trial; Orange, the leader in mobile broadcasting, is providing terrestrial repeater sites and contributing its expertise for analyzing results; Alcatel is conducting all trial measurements and preparing the result analysis; in addition, Eutelsat and SES Astra are supplying the satellite resources needed for feeding terrestrial repeaters.

The trial was initially scheduled to continue through September 2006. Based on initial results, it has been decided to extend the technical trial through the end of 2006. As part of this extended trial period, Eutelsat will partner with Cnes, Orange France, and Alcatel in order to pursue the validation of the technical choices of the hybrid satellite and terrestrial broadcasting system to provide S-band services.

Mobile Television Forum president Janine Langlois-Glandier says, "The Mobile Television Forum recently declared its support for the adoption of standards which are widely approved in Europe and which guarantee interoperability, such as the DVB-H standard and its evolution in the S-band. We are pleased that a trial using the S-band solution will be conducted in Toulouse by Cnes with Orange France and Alcatel, because we believe that this solution will assure consistency that will be beneficial for France and Europe as a whole."

The trial is part of permanent ongoing projects being conducted by Cnes on space applications for the consumer market, and part of continuing preparatory work being conducted jointly by Cnes and Alcatel on architectural concepts and the feasibility of a variety of technical alternatives for a hybrid satellite and terrestrial system for mobile broadcasting.

The purpose of this trial is to provide a technical assessment, to supplement ongoing laboratory work, of certain key parameters of hybrid satellite and terrestrial S-band broadcasting, such as the impact of wave form on transmission quality, link budget, antenna diversity, error-correcting codes, and frequency sharing for satellite and terrestrial elements of the solution.

The demonstrator includes all elements of the proposed solution. The satellite is simulated using an S-band transmitter on board a helicopter at high altitude. The system is completed by terrestrial repeaters installed in ten or so locations belonging to Orange France, the mobile telecommunications operator, alongside its GSM and UMTS service transmitters. Lastly, a test terminal and instruments on board a vehicle are used to measure and record the signal in real time.

The demonstrator covers southeastern Toulouse and the suburbs, from downtown to Castanet Tolosan and St Orens, including the Canal Technology Park and Rangueil. The tests will also be conducted outside of Toulouse and its suburbs, in order to evaluate reception conditions in population centers of variable size, simulating complete coverage within mainland France.

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