Free-to-Air Television Signal Migration – Public Call

Free-to-Air Television Signal Migration – Public Call

The Bidding Notice published by the National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL) regarding the auction of 5th generation (5G) technology, which took place at the end of 2021, stipulated the creation of the Monitoring Group for the Implementation of Solutions to Interference Problems in the band from 3,625 to 3,700 MHz (in Portuguese, Grupo de Acompanhamento da Implantação das Soluções para os Problemas de Interferência na faixa de 3.625 a 3.700 MHz, GAISPI) (Extended C Band). 

Among other attributions, the Group is responsible for disciplining and supervising the migration of reception of the free-to-air television signal through satellite dishes in the satellite C band to the Ku band; the vacancy of the band from 3,625 to 3,700 (attributed to the Fixed-Satellite Service - FSS) and the mitigation of harmful interference problems in the reception of signal of the FSS stations operating from 3,700 to 4,200 MHz, in addition to the application of resources arising from the sale of lots in the 3.5 GHz band, considered the main spectrum for the availability of the 5G technology in Brazil, similar to what happens worldwide.

GAISPI was established in December 2021 and has the participation of representatives from ANATEL, the Ministry of Communications, companies that acquired lots in the 3.5 GHz band, the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters (in Portuguese, Associação Brasileira de Emissoras de Rádio e Televisão, Abert), the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television (in Portuguese, Associação Brasileira de Rádio e Televisão, Abratel), Brazilian Association of Legislative Televisions and Radio (in Portuguese, Associação Brasileira de Televisões e Rádio Legislativas, Astral), Brazilian Association of Satellite Telecommunications Companies (in Portuguese, Associação Brasileira das Empresas de Telecomunicações por Satélite, Abrasat), and the National Union of Satellite Telecommunications Companies (in Portuguese, Sindicato Nacional das Empresas de Telecomunicações por Satélite, Sindisat).

As provided for in its Internal Regulations, GAISPI is in charge of safeguarding the competitiveness and diversity of service and equipment providers, in addition to preserving the use of Brazilian satellites. This Group will also be responsible for approving the specification of the equipment that will enable the reception of signals in the Ku band to be distributed to the beneficiaries of eligible social programs, including the service of installing the antenna and accessories and configuring the equipment.

Also in line with the provisions contained in the Bidding Notice, at its 1st Ordinary Meeting, GAISPI resolved that entities intending to continue with their free-to-air TV broadcasts through the Ku band should express their interest in this regard according to a Public Call. 

As a result, by means of Act No. 12,432, of December 16, 2021, the Superintendent of Grant and Resources for Provision of ANATEL approved the aforementioned Public Call, as well as granted a period until January 24, 2022 for entities with applications that allow the reception of the free-to-air television signal in the satellite C band to express their interest in the aforementioned migration to the Ku band. 

The Call covered the entities that, on September 27, 2021: (I) transmitted channels with free-to-air TV signal, capable of reception through satellite dishes in satellite C band by the general public, whose stations were licensed and directed to space stations that had the right to explore satellites in Brazil in the C band; and (II) sound and image broadcasting concessionaires that did not transmit channels as described in item (i) above, but that, for the purposes of registration of technical data of the sector by ANATEL, are interested in transmitting the satellite free-to-air television signal through the Ku band.

The petitions of manifestation, with the proper identification of the interested parties, were forwarded through ANATEL’s Electronic Information System, accompanied by documents containing information requested by the Agency, such as, for example, the number of the ANATEL’s licensed earth station with which the entity intends to continue broadcasting in the Ku band, the satellite used for the transmission of the TV channel in C band and its orbital position in the case of the parties that already carried out transmissions, or indication of the channel that the interested party intends to transmit directly in Ku band, in the case of interest in the transmission of additional channels.

Notwithstanding the deadline granted by GAISPI, it is interesting to note that already in September of the last year, therefore, even before the 5G auction was held, Embratel (a member of the Claro group) had already announced its interest in mirroring channels in the Ku band from the 2nd quarter of 2022. 

The migration of the signal was defended by Abert as the definitive technical solution for interferences in domestic receiving of the satellite TV signal, having additionally stated that it will also imply operational advantages, greater availability of equipment, use of modern and economically accessible devices, which facilitates technological evolution, in addition to greater definition of transmissions.

As a result of this public call, as published by the specialized press, more than a hundred entities expressed interest in the aforementioned migration, and more than 90 companies expressed interest in starting transmissions directly in the Ku band, which should lead to new business opportunities in Brazil. 

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São Paulo, February 09, 2022