RTR commissions study on use of digital dividend in Austria

Press release dated 29 December 2009

On December 29, 2009, the Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications (RTR) commissioned a study to evaluate the potential uses of the "digital dividend" in Austria from an economic perspective and to develop recommended actions for political decision-makers. The study will be prepared by the Hamburg-based consortium "AB Consulting (Arne Börnsen)/Infront Consulting & Management GmbH" ("ARGE ABI"), which includes Prof. Jörn Kruse (Chair for Economic Policy at Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg) as well as Austrian Prof. Michael Latzer (Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research, University of Zürich).

"The AB/Infront group appears to provide sufficient assurance that the specific situation in Austria will be taken into account appropriately," commented Alfred Grinschgl, Managing Director of RTR's Broadcasting Division, upon announcing the decision. "We also expect a thorough and realistic analysis of the future frequency requirements for broadcasting transmission services," noted Grinschgl. Georg Serentschy, Managing Director of RTR's Broadcasting Division, added: "In making this decision, we considered it important to ensure that the authors of the study provide an unbiased analysis of usage scenarios for the digital dividend, without any specific uses in mind from the outset."

The contract was awarded to ARGE ABI in the course of an official tender procedure carried out in accordance with the Austrian Federal Procurement Act (BVergG). In the procedure, RTR received a large number of tenders. "Most tenders were promising, but in the end ARGE ABI was best able to convince us that they will be able to weigh the various interests in using the digital dividend and present the information in a generally understandable form," Serentschy explained.

The study is to be completed by the end of March 2010. One essential part of the research effort will be interviews with relevant market participants from the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors.

The digital dividend was created by the switchover from analog to digital broadcasting transmission. Digital transmission technologies enable a more efficient use of the frequency spectrum. The "digital dividend" thus refers to that part of the spectrum which will become available for additional use after the digitization process and once the provision of previously existing broadcasting applications has been ensured (790-862 MHz). The frequency range of the digital dividend is considered highly desirable by both broadcasters and telecommunications providers because its favorable propagation characteristics offer promising opportunities for broad applications.