Planning and development stages of the broadcasting transition from analogue to digital technology (Analogue switch-off)
Planning of the transition of Analogue Switch-Off (ASO)
Analogue Switch-Off (ASO) is the international process to transit broadcasting service to digital platform and switch off the analogue system, which had been used. ASO is not an easy process and will require a good plan to be developed and implemented optimally under a good management, to be successful. ITU recommendation emphasized the following main steps to make the plan of National ASO process, including:
When the ASO process will start?
There’s no certain date stated to start the ASO process. However, there are the international experiences to start and activate ASO by Government activities depends on the following time limits and other factors. In case of Mongolia, these factors are collected, too.
Where the ASO process will start?
ITU recommendation said that 3 major options which have an impact on where to start ASO process needs to be researched, which are:
Well-developed countries such as Germany and USA started ASO process from the major cities where the most population were living and a several broadcasters were simultaneously working. There is no need of huge plan in this case, because a number of broadcasters are to be switched off at the same time. However, there’s a risk of eliminating a possibility to watch TV broadcasting of a hundreds and thousands of household, who are yet to have digital system TV in a multi-millionaire cities.
Most countries, particularly those which are deeply reliant on terrestrial TV network start the ASO process from the sparsely populated areas. In this case, the test is made a number of times and the relevant experience achieved prior to start the process in big populated cities. Countries such as England (UK) and Sweden implemented this method.
Some countries including France, Spain and Italy started the ASO process from the territory where the digital TV service was first tested. It’s particularly special that the process was started after achieving a long time experience regards with the service. However, due to the international frequency coordination, delay in ASO process had occurred in border areas
How long the ASO process will last?
The period required for customers to feel the benefit of the period that both analogue and digital systems exist simultaneously is the most important matter of the systematic method. In other words, there is a period of time required for the audience to be provided with an opportunity to experience the digital system service and if it’s failed, to transit back to the analogue system platform. This period of time varies from a several months to some years, according to the experiences of many countries, however it’s determined by the limit of opportunities, such as the number of terrestrial network audience households and availability of frequency etc. The Government in practice, approves the period to exist simultaneously as its minimum level. If the systematic approach of the transition is selected, the number of implementation stages will influence on how long the process is going to be. For example, Sweden had implemented the ASO process with 5 stages, from September, 2005 to October, 2007. However, the UK started the ASO process with 14 stages in 2008 and planned to complete the implementation of this process in 2012.
Development stages and work directions of ASO planning
ASO planning has its own development stages and certain work directions and approaches. The framework of the work depends on the duties and responsibilities of the Government and the planning work directions have a close adjustment with the ASO structure. Mongolia, in case, the following directions are considered to be included in the full draft plan.
Confirm the route to transit to the digital TV easily through providing a good understanding about the inevitability of the transition into digital system and information and instruction regards with the transition. Businesses and sellers also be provided with technical instructions and assistance through web site and the contact center.
Make sure that the equipment that the customer will buy shall be fully acceptable with the customer’s requirements and available with the numbers the customers require and possible to be delivered within the expected time frame.
The process to transit the terrestrial distribution network to the digital technology will be planned and organized within the timeframe agreed with the Government. Supplement and installation of network facilities by supplier shall be completed within the period of time stated on the plan. If the newly commissioned digital equipment is considered as compliant with standard and operational requirements, it will be informed to the management of ASO process and the transition operation will be activated.
Monitor the implementation progress of the ASO process and research the market and transition progress of customers in territory where the digital technology introduced and the process will be activated. Assist to the transportation plan of the suppliers of set top box and, if necessary, determine the information and advertisement strategy. If any of failure occurred during the transition progress in a particular region, make sure that the failure won’t happen in the next region.
Operations of policy makers and regulatory organizations will be more active before the digital transition and the regulatory will do the spectrum regulation and re-distribution and renew the licenses of the service providers.
Manage the finance related to the ASO process and be responsible for any of compensation for customers and the advertisement expenses.
Stages of the ASO Planning
Most countries implement the ASO process through 3 stages.