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South Korea: 700 MHz frequency band to be distributed to five terrestrial TV channels

As reported by BusinessKorea on 7th July 2015, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) in Korea announced that it will distribute the 700 MHz frequency band to five terrestrial television channels, including EBS. The announcement was made during a committee meeting for frequency policies under the Science, ICT, Future Planning, Broadcasting, and Communications Committee of the National Assembly on July 6.

At the event, Choi Jae-you, the second vice minister at the MSIP, proposed a measure that the government will assign the 30MHz frequency band to 4 more terrestrial broadcast service providers for UHDTV broadcasting: KBS1, KBS2, MBC, and SBS. EBS already has this privilege.

As a result, a 108 MHz band in the 700 MHz range will divide into a 40 MHz frequency band for mobile telecommunications, a 30 MHz frequency band for UHDTV broadcasting, a 20 MHz frequency band for the national disaster safety communications network, and 18 MHz for guard bands.

The MSIP is going to establish a plan for frequency distribution within this month and to revise the distribution plan through the Frequency Band Deliberation Committee of the Office for Government Policy Coordination. The government agency is planning to make a basic policy proposal such as the introduction of UHDTV broadcasting services by terrestrial broadcasting companies and to create a plan for auctioning off the 40 MHz frequency band for mobile telecommunications, and to carry out the plan within the latter half of this year.

Dr Amal Punchihewa, Director Technology of ABU says that according to Korean broadcasters, this issue has been unresolved for a long period of time because stakeholders of broadcasting and telecommunications could not reach consensus. Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), national broadcaster in Korea, with other terrestrial broadcasters in Korea, has convinced the relevant parties the capability and value of terrestrial UHDTV broadcasting technologies (over-the-air) and strived lobbying the government and national assembly members of Korea. Frequencies for UHDTV in 700MHZ band is a result of that hard work done by KBS and Korean Broadcasters’ Association (KBA).

Dr Punchihewa believes that it would be the foundation and trend setter for other countries in Asia-Pacific region followed by the rest of the world.