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ETSI standardizes interactive TV link using microwaves

Many users cannot take advantage of high-bandwidth digital interactive services because of the 'last mile' problem - linking homes and offices to the local distribution centre. Services such as interactive TV, Video on Demand (VoD) and turbo -Internet need a two-way link, but it is not always practical or cost-effective to install special links. The ACTS project CABSINET has developed a two-way distribution system that fills this important market niche. The project has made significant contribution to a new standard for distributing Digital Terrestrial Television via microwave.

The new standard known as DVB-MT (or Microwave Television) is initially designed to assist with Digital Television coverage, but has longer term potential for offering powerful interactive services. The standard was approved by the DVB (Digital Video Board) in June, 1999 and will shortly become a European Norm (EN) document within ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute).

The system provides low cost, easily installed, high data rate connections to business and domestic users over the 'last mile'. It makes use of low-power cellular wireless techniques to offer an attractive solution for interactive services. The system was publicly demonstrated at both the IBC '98 event in Amsterdam and at a special event hosted by Deutsche Telekom last April. The system demonstrated a full video-on-demand service whilst concurrently providing a high speed Internet connection to download web pages. A particular advantage of the system is the simplicity of installation; the customer's unit is located indoors and communicates directly with the local CABSINET base station without the need for installing external microwave antennas.

In the UK, the project has been cited as an example of emerging technologies in a recent government paper released in July, 1999. The paper entitled ' Wireless in the Information Age: Delivering Interactive Multimedia to Workplace and Home ' is a consultation document for UK spectrum planning of broadband wireless access.

For further information, visit the CABSINET or contact (email removed) , Project Manager.

By (email removed) , Euronet Associates, 26.07.99