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Telecommunications providers across the region need to present a unified approach in the move to Digital Television Broadcasting.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce, said today that while a timely and well-planned introduction of digital television broadcasting could boost a country’s technological, economic and social development, regional co-operation was an important part in the process.

Mr. Boyce was at the time addressing the opening ceremony of a five-day regional workshop and frequency coordination meeting on the Transition to Digital Terrestrial Television and Digital Dividend at the Savannah Hotel this morning.

"Cooperation and collaboration are the key watch words for this workshop and seminar, and for future regional deliberations," he said.

He noted that the developed world had already either implemented, or planned to implement the new Digital Television Broadcasting Standards systems to take advantage of technological developments taking place.

"We too can get several advantages from the implementation of Digital Television Broadcast Systems. The most significant of these benefits is the freeing up of bandwidth since digital channels take up less space," he said.

These advantages include more channels in the same space, high-definition television, and also allow for more than one programme to be shown at the same time.

Mr. Boyce noted that they could also offer a variety of new information services that could present new business opportunities, and provide education, health care, and other applications to address social needs.

But, the Senator stressed, despite the advantages, the new broadcasting must adapt to the socio-economic conditions of the country; be rolled out gradually to minimise social risks and costs; ensure the protection of consumers against premature obsolescence of their digital television broadcast products; and provide and promote new applications and solutions that support production of more local content and facilitate access to education, culture, information and entertainment.

Mr. Boyce told the regional telecommunications delegates that digital television broadcasting policies must support appropriate investments and business models that will help achieve such goals.

But, the Minister stated, it was important for regional countries to agree on the technical digital standard to be adopted to facilitate the process. "I am aware that the Caribbean Telecommunications Union and the Caribbean Broadcasting Union are actively deliberating on the issue. We in Barbados await the outcome of these discussions," he said.

The five-day workshop will also seek to provide answers on what regional countries should do with the spectrum soon to be newly released from analogue to digital broadcasting.

The workshop, facilitated by experts from the International Telecommunications Union, and sponsored by Barbados’ telecommunications providers, will also examine how best to avoid the harmful interference that the new digital broadcast transmitters could cause to terrestrial fixed and mobile telecommunications services.


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