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Sep 12, 2018

4th Regional Coordination Meeting of the International Telecommunication Union

The issue of digital transitioning from analogue is taking place in many countries. It involves the conversion to a new system from analogue terrestrial to digital terrestrial.  In the Caribbean, a few have made the switch while in the more populous Central America far more are migrating to the new system. This week, the issue is being discussed here in Belize where the International Telecommunication Union has brought together representatives from telecoms from both sub regions to talk about the frequency as well as the switchover.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Representatives from the telecommunications industry in Central America and the Caribbean are in Belize for the fourth Regional Coordination Meeting of the International Telecommunication Union. The idea is to have a complete transition from analogue to digital television—a switch which many consumers have made. According to the Head of the Broadcasting Division for ITU, Ilham Ghazi, in this the final regional conference they want to ensure that each country will have the required frequency to be used and not left behind.

 

Ilham Ghazi

Ilham Ghazi, Head of Broadcasting Division, International Telecommunication Union

“The purpose of this conference is to assist the countries to allocate some frequency band in the UHF for the mobile broadband to help these countries connect and connected and also to have them transition to the digital television. One of the most important point and also a challenge is really the cross border coordination. You know, frequency is waves, it’s air, no border. And this is important to coordinate with neighbours if you want your mobile broadband and also the digital television to work without interference to coordinate with the neighbours the frequencies that they are all going to use.”

 

Locally, the broadcast standard set out by the Belize Broadcasting Authority is still analogue and broadcasters are being encouraged to make the switch to digital TV. But will there be any concessions to industry stakeholders in facilitating the transition in terms of acquiring the technology and equipment for the switchover?

 

Justin Barrow

Justin Barrow, Director of Telecommunications, Public Utilities Commission

“We are also trying to look into what we call a digital switchover where we are switching from analogue to digital in the UHF and VHF bands; those are the bands that we used to use for TV back in the days…those old TVs, we still use them. We are not forcing it, but it would be good to switch over because you can fit more information into the digital channel than an analogue one. We are not forcing the switch over, we have a lot of spectrum available right now so we are just going to let things take their course. Eventually what’s going to happen is the old technology is going to get phased out—it is not going to be available anymore—and then those companies are going to pretty much have no choice but to switch. So we are just going to let things take their course.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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