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DSO slows down in ASEAN

Malaysia is the latest ASEAN country to announce a delay in switching off analogue TV transmissions

Originally scheduled to be completed by 30 June 2018, the digital switchover (DSO) in Malaysia has been delayed. Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak, Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Minister, said: “This is to allow more time for all parties to prepare for a fully digital broadcasting environment, from the broadcasters themselves to the man in the street.”

Malaysia’s announcement follows that of Singapore’s, where the deadline to complete the analogue switch-off (ASO) has been shifted from end-2017 to 31 Dec 2018.

Collectively, all countries in ASEAN have agreed on a 2020 time frame to transition fully to digital terrestrial television (DTT). In the interim, simulcast broadcasts of digital and analogue TV services will continue, which is a costly endeavour.

The transition to DTT is also likely to bring into focus the issue of TV White Spaces (TVWS), or the spectrum freed up in the TV broadcast bands from the ASO. At the WRC-19 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, the IMT industry is expected to push for more spectrum to be allocated for the mobile industry, a stance that some governments around the world appear to support.

In a statement, Singapore’s Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) said: “Singapore’s switch to digital TV also frees up scarce radio frequency spectrum, which will be used to provide better quality and higher mobile broadband speeds, ultimately improving end-user experiences.”

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