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Monday April 23, 2012

Digital terrestrial TV request for proposal by month-end?

By B.K. SIDHU
bksidhu@thestar.com.my


PETALING JAYA: The RFP (request for proposal) for digital terrestrial TV broadcasting (DTTB) infrastructure for all broadcasters to ride on to transmit their TV programmes, estimated to cost about RM1bil, will be out by month-end, sources said.

They said the regulator was working furiously to get the documents out so that interested parties were able to submit their proposals.

Interested parties would be given two to three months to evaluate and come up with a business plan for submission to the commission.

There are several parties that are interested in getting involved in the conversion of analogue technology to DTTB for all terrestrial TV stations.

Under the current set-up, TV broadcasters are individually licensed as content application service providers, whereby they install their own equipment at transmission sites to broadcast.

With DTTB one party or a consortium of players will build the infrastructure that can be leased by all players and with compression technology there can be efficient use of spectrum, thereby giving broadcasters more avenues to offer more channels and content.

The spectrum bands earmarked for digital broadcasting were 174-230MHz and 470-742MHz.

“Any company with a network facilities provider or network services provider licence will be able to submit their business plan,” said a source, who added that, even foreign players can participate but they have to abide by the foreign equity ownership rules whereby their stake in a company that submits a business plan must not be more than 49%.

“What is also possible is that the foreign parties can be technical partners to local groups, but we leave all the permutations to the market players,” the source said.

The parties that have indicated interest include Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Axiata Group Bhd via Celcom Axiata, Puncak Semangat Sdn Bhd and KUB Malaysia Bhd. But other parties like Maxis Bhd and YTL Communications Sdn Bhd are also said to be interested.

Some local players have some arrangement with foreign players and they include Celcom with Broadcast Australia, Puncak with New Zealand's Kordia, KUB with Germany's Media Broadcast Systems and YTL with US Sezmi and American technical consultant Peter Douglas.

“There are also others who are interested and this will only be known once they register for the RFP documents,” said the source.

The lobbying by some players to get to do the conversion has begun but there are suggestions that all players form a consortium to bid for the conversion so that there is infrastructure rationalisation.

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