The Ministry of Communications is to publish within the next few days a draft document for public consultation containing the policy guidelines on which the Government plans to choose a digital TV standard for Brazil. Deputy Communications Minister Maurício Abreu, currently the acting minister while Juarez Quadros is out of the country, says the document has input from the Finance and Development Ministries and will detail some of the measures to be required of the country or countries whose standard is chosen.
Among the measures required in exchange for choosing a standard are the presence of at least one Brazilian with voting rights on the board of the technology owner, non-discriminatory treatment in technology transfer, an undertaking to provide technical training, and incentives for industrial expansion including local production of DTV equipment within a time frame to be specified later.
Maurício Abreu also noted that digital terrestrial television will be free, just as broadcast TV is now. The proposed business model calls for service flexibility so that individual broadcasters in each region can choose how to use the digital system. Thus there will be no obligation to provide only HDTV or multichannel SDTV, for example. The document also states the importance of taking economic as well as technical issues into consideration when choosing a standard. Once the choice has been made, rules and regulations for DTV services will be issued quickly so as to guarantee continuity of service during the transition.
Deputy Minister Abreu was opening the SET Conference in São Paulo Wednesday, July 31. He was introduced by SET President Olímpio Franco, who complained about the time being taken to choose a DTV standard. ?Delays make it impossible to plan ahead,? he said.