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Do broadcasters see any direct benefit in future 5G technology?

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Simon Fell, Director of Technology and Innovation, European Broadcasting Union

The broadcast industry has long been wary of the cellular industry and its insatiable appetite for spectrum. Yet it has already embraced cellular as an additional distribution platform and a further means to assist production, especially for live news reporting. So how will 5G change their relationship?

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has been participating in cross-industry work for some time, and is a member of 3GPP and a partner in 5G-PPP. It also contributes to ETSI's Mobile Broadcast Convergence ISG, as a forum for bringing together the various stakeholders to see how they might best work together in the future, by starting collaboration work on standards and specifications earlier rather than later.

LTE-Broadcast has proven useful as a tool to concatenate users, especially in large venues, but 3GPP Rel-14 will help with wider coverage and a dedicated Broadcast Mode. Whilst there isn't a TV production crew on every street corner, everyone has a camera as part of their smartphone, so 5G could have possibilities as a local production tool.

Meanwhile, broadcasters are obviously keen to maintain their right to use spectrum, so there will always be a difference of opinion – unless 5G can offer new solutions that offer a considerable benefit and could eventually replace the existing ubiquitous terrestrial coverage offered by the broadcast transmission network. Until then, cellular will remain an ancillary distribution option.

Filmed at: ETSI 5G Network Infrastructure Summit, Nice, 6 April, 2017

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