UAE acquires rights to 225 digital channels

MUMBAI: The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in the UAE, has acquired rights to 225 digital channels at the recently concluded ITU Regional Radio Communication Conference (RRC) held in Geneva from 15 May 15th – 16 June 2006.

The month-long conference was aimed at facilitating the transition from analogue media broadcasting to digital. The conference organised channel allocation among participating countries, based on a newly formulated digital terrestrial TV broadcasting plan.

TRA DG Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim said, "The UAE team has acquired 225 digital terrestrial TV channels out of the 236 present in the UHF and VHF bands. The TRA has authority on these channels, and we will soon issue regulatory lists to start giving licenses for channels use.”

“The UAE will undergo tremendous change and growth in the field of TV and radio transmission in the coming few years so that people can watch the terrestrial channels' TV programmes either at home or through their PDAs . In order to accelerate and facilitate the change, TRA is putting in place regulations that are in line with international guidelines in the field”.

At the conference, the UAE acquired several leading positions in the conference, and assumed responsibility for chairing one of the negotiating teams, vice-chairing the special team for a new regional treaty and also vice-chairing a special team dedicated to revising the previous agreement.

Prior to the conference, the TRA had organised several local preparatory meetings to reschedule UAE's digital broadcasting channels in the 174-230 MHZ and 470-862 MHZ frequency bands through advanced software programs used for regulating the broadcasting spectrum according to digital maps of the country. The TRA also organised regional congresses with neighboring countries (GCC, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, and the Republic of Yemen) to ensure a united front on broadcasting.

The UAE is expected to transit to digital terrestrial broadcasting system within two years as part of an overall strategy to enhance the telecommunications sector in the country, and the TRA will be in charge of ensuring a smooth and successful transition to the new broadcasting paradigm.

A key issue at the conference was the protection of analogue terrestrial broadcasting from digital interference until the year 2015 to ease the transition between the technologies. All conference participants signed a new treaty outlining terrestrial TV channels provision.

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