The roadmap defines the calendar which broadcasters must respect in changing the encryption (transitioning from high definition with standard compression MPEG4), in re-farming processes (freeing up frequency band 700MHz and adhering to the NFAP), and in the implementation of new standard DVB-T2.
Rai Way for New Digital TV
We contribute to the evolution of the country's technological infrastructure
Context: European and national regulatory framework
In 2008, Rai Way’s network reached an important technological milestone in its transition from analogue to digital terrestrial. We are currently undergoing another fundamental evolution: new digital terrestrial.
This process will involve:
- freeing up frequency band 700MHz (also known as ‘re-farming’);
- the use of elevated compression standards which allow for high-definition transmission (MPEG4 encryption instead of current MPEG2);
- the adoption of DVB-T2 technology.
The re-farming process has piqued the interest of all countries in the European Union. In fact, the idea was born of a decision made by the European Parliament and the European Commission on 17th May 2017. In favour of the development of 5G, a new-generation ultra-broadband mobile technology, television operators must free up terrestrial frequency bands around 700MHz (more precisely, frequencies between 694MHz and 790MHz).In Italy, the implementation of the EU’s decision is carried out firstly through the Budget Law of 2018 (L.205/17), which defines the different methods used in the process of freeing up frequency band 700MHz.
The Budget Law of 2019 (L.145/18) introduced important modifications and sanctions for all re-farming actions. Its conclusion is planned for 30th June 2022.
In particular, the Budget Law of 2019:
- demands from AgCom the updated National Frequency Allocation Plan for Digital Terrestrial Television (NFAP DTT) to keep track of the reduction of bandwidth available to television operators, as well as radio-electrical restrictions in place on an international level, in terms of bordering countries.
- entrusts the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) with the honour of:
- implementing the NFAP DTT issued by AgCom;
- allocating frequencies to national and local operators;
- identifying a temporary plan, or roadmap, for the implementation of the NFAP DTT.
THE NFAP DDT
On 7th February 2019, AgCom published, with resolution 39-19-CONS, the essentially definitive NFAP DTT. Minor adjustments were made on 23rd April 2020 (resolution 162/20/CONS).
The process of allocating networks to various operators is carried out using different procedures – allocation by right, Beauty Contest, and competition – and was internally managed by the MED. There was one exception: since the issuing of the NFAP, a specific network was identified, to be allocated to the Public Service Concessionaire for the broadcasting of general content from Rai. Today, Rai is allocated three NFAP networks.
Definition of the roadmap
One of the first roadmaps was proposed in a Ministerial Decree from the MED on 19th June 2019. It was modified following the Ministerial Decree of 30th July 2021.
Roadmap: the main steps in transitioning to new digital TV
Transition to standaqrd mpeg-4
After the transition to new standard MPEG-4 for thematic channels, which took place on 20th October 2021, Italy’s activation of MPEG-4 encryption for all programmes of national television broadcasters has been scheduled for 8th March 2022.
For more information, visit this link: https://nuovatvdigitale.mise.gov.it/passaggio-al-mpeg4/
To better understand the details of the different steps in our frequency reorganisation, which began on 15th November 2021 and will finish on 30th June 2022, take a look at this link: https://nuovatvdigitale.mise.gov.it/refarming/.
Rai Way’s Role: Rai’s transmission into New Digital Terrestrial
Re-farming and the transition into new digital terrestrial have been a long-standing priority for Rai Way. We are replacing our broadcasting and transmission equipment, adapting our network with considerable human and technological effort. Our role is to fully support Rai in this historic change, contributing positively to the technological evolution of our country’s infrastructure.
Investments. We plan to spend around 150 million Euros on Rai’s re-farming project.
Activities. We are calling on all our technological and human resources, taking full advantage of our widespread presence across the country to carry out our re-farming process and to transition into new digital terrestrial. Not only are we reconfiguring our network to align with new standards; we have also taken this opportunity to implement a technological and digital upgrade, which will open us up to innovative future prospects.
These activities were carried out on around 2,000 sites, and include:
- 12 new Main encryption platforms and 12 new Disaster Recovery encryption platforms, with IP signal broadcasting between the different production centres;
- Securing permissions and licenses with the Regional Environmental Protection Agencies/MED on more than 2,000 sites;
- Provision and installation of around 7,000 pieces of transmission equipment on high-power sites (roughly 30 locations), on mid-power sites (roughly 70 locations), and on low-power sites (roughly 190 locations);
- Around 100 interventions on new and/or modified radiation systems.
As well as performing interventions on the entire terrestrial and satellite broadcasting network, composed of 5 Transponders.
Agreement with Rai. Rai Way’s activities and investments in terms of re-farming and transition to new digital terrestrial were defined in an agreement with Rai, dated 10th December 2019. This agreement also remodelled the terms of the Service Contract, with incremental annual revenue for Rai Way equal to around 16 million Euros, from 1st July 2021.
Rai Way’s Role in Local Broadcasting
Strengthened by the technological and infrastructural experience which characterises Rai Way, following the allocation of local frequencies in competitions carried out by the Ministry of Economic Development, the transition to DVB-T2 is an objective which will be implemented and managed across 8 broadcasting networks for important private regional television operators in Lombardy, Piedmont, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Puglia, Basilicata, and Sicily.
Are you a consumer who’d like to find out more about the compatibility of your television or decoder?
To find out more about the technology of your TV, and whether you may eventually need a decoder and/or a change in TV set, we invite you to take a look at the dedicated website created by the Ministry of Economic Development.
To check the frequencies and channels in your area, contact our virtual assistant.