The 470-694MHz has been historically used in Europe for terrestrial broadcast network, delivering public and private broadcast through fixed rooftop reception. Advances in technology and evolution of consumer habits have triggered discussions about the future use of the 470-694MHz. In particular, there is a trend towards mobile consumption for audiovisual content (including audiovisual media services) creating the necessity to consider how broadcasting and mobile services could complement each other in the delivery of audiovisual (both linear and non-linear) content to mobile terminals. The topic was discussed in the High Level Group on the future use of the UHF band led by Pascal Lamy and the Plum Consulting/Farncombe study on broadcast-broadband convergence, both initiatives from the European Commission. From the CEPT side, the ECC Report 224 on ‘Long Term Vision for the UHF broadcasting band’ described, in particular, a number of scenarios corresponding to convergence of broadcast services on the mobile platform.
All reports and study groups acknowledged the potential of a converged platform, designed as a Low Power Low Tower network operating in Supplemental DL mode as a nationwide Single Frequency Network (SFN). While technical feasibility of such an approach was recognized, reports stressed that further studies were required in order to address precisely the coverage achieved by such networks at the border between two SFNs.
The study below aims at providing a full assessment of the coverage properties of downlink LPLT networks for the delivery of broadcast content, especially at the border of two SFNs.
The technical proposal is to reuse existing base stations operated by mobile operators to deliver an LTE Broadcast service in the 470-694 MHz band. Reusing existing sites provides numerous benefits, in particular in order to reduce the cost of deployment of such a network. The service should deliver 2 bps/Hz to mobile devices and fixed rooftop antennas alike, in order to significantly increase the capacity of the mobile platform. The LTE Broadcast service considered corresponds to an evolution of the current LTE eMBMS standard, in particular in order to support longer cyclic prefixes (200 µsec).
One of the benefits of adopting LTE as a standard for broadcasting is to leverage the advanced signal processing capabilities of LTE terminals. LTE eMBMS only requires 16dB of SINR to deliver 2bps/Hz in a very challenging mobile environment. Fixed rooftop reception is ensured with much lower SINR requirements. LTE receivers also support features – such as interference cancellation – which improve performance in challenging SNIR environment.