A new document from the EBU Technical Committee sets out the opportunities that 5G networks are likely to create for the distribution of audiovisual content and services. The document, BPN 109, can be downloaded now by EBU Members.

Looking towards 2020

The vision for 5G is to bring fixed, mobile and satellite networks, together with computing and storage resources, into a unified, programmable and universally available infrastructure. 5G should not be thought of as simply a new wireless communications system. It is expected to have a fundamental impact on all areas of telecommunications: technology, services and applications, regulation, and business arrangements. 5G may become a major game changer, where existing players may need to adopt new roles and completely new stakeholders enter the scene.

The main standardization work is taking place in 3GPP and the ITU, but the European Commission is also a significant proponent, committing substantial R&D funding and working towards optimal regulatory and market conditions for deployment, which is expected to start around 2020.

Get and stay involved

The EBU sees 5G as an opportunity to enable new services and establish new business models and is supportive of the standardization efforts. EBU Members are strongly encouraged to get and stay involved in the standardization process, both in 3GPP and ITU. Leading mobile technology vendors and some telecom operators are currently supportive of broadcasters’ requirements, in particular in 3GPP, as they see potential future business opportunities.

Chapter 3 of BPN 109 sets out the technical and non-technical requirements of public service media (PSM) to ensure that 5G technology can deliver both an enhanced user experience and value for EBU Members and their audiences. When PSM providers have to rely on telecom operators for the carriage of their content and services it will be essential to ensure that the key requirements are fulfilled and appropriate business arrangements can be established.

PSM providers should also investigate the possibility of interconnecting their own 5G-compatible infrastructure, perhaps using the PSM awarded or appointed spectrum. In addition, it is important to seek as much harmonization as possible between 5G and existing media delivery systems (e.g. Digital Terrestrial Television and satellite), in particular on the higher protocol layers.

Technical work needs to be complemented by staying involved in activities at the policy level, the Commission’s 5G Action Plan and in the process of the ongoing review of the EU telecoms regulatory package.

BPN 109, accessible only to EBU Members, provides a comprehensive list of links to relevant documents and initiatives. Download it here.

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