Botswana: Japanese DTT standard adoption criticised

Technology & Convergence

The Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association (Sadiba) has criticised Botswana for choosing a Japanese digital television standard over the more commonly practiced European one.
HumanIPO reported Botswana adopted Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting Terrestrial (ISDB-T) because it is supposed to provide simultaneous transmissions to fixed, mobile and portable receivers from one transmitter, but in doing so it snubbed the European standard used by neighbouring countries.

The second generation Digital Video Broadcasting Terrestrial (DVB-T2) standard was adopted by South Africa and other countries in the southern African region.

South Africa adopted a newer version of DVB-T2 following debates and a change in the communications minister.

Following Botswana’s adoption of the Japanese ISDB-T, the Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association (Sadiba), which is an industry forum, has criticised the country’s decision, saying in a statement the decision will place the country “on the back foot”.

Sadiba said: “It burdens citizens with unnecessary costs, reduces the prospect of costs dropping in future, and reduces the benefits possible from the transition to digital. It sets a country up for a wasteful second transition to a newer technology in future.”

Furthermore, Sadiba said independent research conducted by the Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape, South Africa has proved DVB-T2 is “far superior” to other digital standards.

“The growing number of commercial deployments of DVB-T2 across Asia, Europe and Africa bear witness to the fact that DVB-T2 is the world’s most advanced terrestrial broadcast standard,” said Sadiba.

It added: “It undisputedly delivers 50 per cent more capacity than ISDB-T (or DVB-T) and is unrivalled in its flexibility and features by first-generation standards.”

Furthermore Sadiba argues that since 2010, Japan had to license and implement additional mobile multimedia reception through ISDB-Tmm6, which is considered a new technology.

“The fact that an additional standard had to be developed and additional networks have been rolled out in Japan to deliver mobile network coverage suggests that media statements on the ability of standard ISDB-T technology deliver simultaneous fixed and mobile service coverage are inaccurate and misleading,” said Sadiba.

In conclusion Sadiba said research conducted in 2010 indicates the cost of set-top boxes in that year were “significantly more expensive” compared to similarly equipped set-top boxes utilising DVB-T technology.

“The combined cost of these access devices constitutes the single biggest cost of the digital transition of any nation.”