Revised Digital Audio Broadcasting Standard

BT has welcomed the approval of a revised DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) standard which now allows mobile TV and virtually any other content to be broadcast reliably using internet based technologies. The revised standard will underpin the BT Movio service – the first wholesale broadcast mobile entertainment service to launch in the UK this summer.

As part of the revised EN 300 401 specification, The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has included a capability which, using IP to run on a DAB network, allows audio, video and other data to be broadcast efficiently and reliably.

With the continuing debate around standards for broadcasting TV and radio to mobile phones, the approval of this technology as part of the DAB ETSI standard reinforces BT’s view that the eventual winner in this technology race will not be a single standard or technology, but a combination of these. 3G, WLAN, DAB, DVB-H and other technologies will combine using the unifying quality of IP to deliver mobile TV and radio to consumers.

Emma Lloyd, managing director of BT Movio, said: “The approval of this latest enhancement to the DAB standard supports what we’ve been saying for some time. We will see multiple standards for mobile TV and radio appearing in different markets across the globe. Those adopting a multi-standard approach will therefore emerge as the winners in this potentially lucrative market.

“Consumers want simple access to high quality TV and radio wherever they are. By using a platform based on IP, we can join different technologies and standards together to give the consumer a seamless experience to enjoy their favourite TV and radio programmes on their mobile phone.”

The BT Movio service will launch commercially in the UK this summer. BT Movio has chosen to launch the service via a DAB-IP based platform for three key reasons:

Firstly, DAB provides the only national broadcast capacity available in the UK today and for the next couple of years. Should DVB-H or other IP capable broadcast standards become available in the future, BT Movio could potentially integrate these seamlessly, to provide consumers with further choice of TV and radio channels.

By using the DAB network, BT Movio can also offer access to all of the UK’s DAB digital radio stations, in addition to mobile TV. One of the key findings from the recent BT Movio pilot was that while mobile TV was extremely popular, consumers found the digital radio aspect of the service equally attractive.

Finally, DAB-IP is currently the only available platform which is efficient enough to use the existing digital radio capacity in the UK to deliver several TV channels and a seven day programme guide.

John Hall, CEO of RadioScape said: “We are a leading provider of DAB-IP for trials around the world and have been working closely with BT Movio on the implementation of the DAB-IP platform here in the UK. We are delighted that the technology has now been standardised by ETSI and believe that this will give greater impetus to the adoption of the multi-bearer/IP strategy in other markets.

“We are uniquely positioned to support these multi-standard requirements as our software defined solutions are specifically designed to handle whatever standard or feature is required at the time.”

The EN 300 401 V1.4.1 (2006-06) standard can be downloaded free of charge.

About BT
BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services operating in 170 countries. Its principal activities include networked IT services, local, national and international telecommunications services, and higher-value broadband and internet products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale. BT Movio is a new business venture owned by BT Wholesale.

In the year ended 31 March 2006, BT Group’s revenue was £19,514 billion with profit before taxation of £2,040 billion. British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.