Draft plan for digital TV drawn up

Communications minister Maurice Williamson yesterday announced 'major progress' towards the introduction of digital terrestrial TV in the form of a draft frequency channel plan.

Communications minister Maurice Williamson yesterday announced "major progress" towards the introduction of digital terrestrial TV.

After consultation with network providers and transmission consultants, "a draft frequency channel plan and detailed engineering criteria for digital television transmissions in New Zealand has been developed," said Williamson.

"I'm delighted to have reached this key milestone in the engineering project. This milestone represents great progress towards a successful introduction of this exciting new technology.

"The technical work completed to date is a fine example of Government and industry working in close consultation to maximise the value of the resource to the benefit of the viewing public."

The plans allows for three separate national frequency networks to be reserved for transition of free-to-air broadcasts - leaving as many as five potential networks for sale by auction.

In December 1998 the Government announced plans for the transition of terrestrial television broadcasts from the present analogue format to the new generation digital transmission format. Those plans included a decision to implement digital programs in the existing UHF-TV bands using a frequency interleave approach. Additionally, the Government announced a program of spectrum reservation for free-to-air broadcasts, to enable continuity of service to the public over the transition period.

The draft channel plan and engineering criteria document can be found at: http://www.moc.govt.nz/rsm/planning/dttv/index.html.

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