On 2-4 June, Emitel executed the second stage of the 700MHz band refarming. The changes in the terrestrial television programs’ broadcasting band encompassed large areas of Poland. The technically and logistically complex project was being prepared by Emitel for many months. In the last step, over 100 technical crews switched the transmitters to new broadcasting frequencies during late night hours.

According to the decision of the European Parliament concerning the use of the 470-790 MHz frequencies, the 700 MHz band must be cleared to enable the development of the fifth generation network. The 5G network will enable quicker data transmission and development of new, innovative industrial services and solutions. On the conditions of its incorporation is the clearance of the band occupied currently by broadcasters of digital terrestrial television. In agreement with market regulators, the project was planned to be implemented in several stages and will be completed in 2022. The band clearance in June of this year was required due to Poland’s bilateral commitments towards the neighbouring countries.

The change of program broadcasting frequencies implemented in June concerned the broadcasting of the MUX-1, MUX-2, MUX-3 and MUX-4 multiplexers based in 13 voivodeships (Lubuskie, Dolnośląskie, Śląskie, Świętokrzyskie, Zachodniopomorskie, Małopolskie, Podkarpackie, Pomorskie, Warmińsko-Mazurskie, Ppolskie, Wielkopolskie, Mazowieckie, Lubelskie). Earlier, in March of this year, the changes in program broadcasting were implemented in the Zachodniopomorskie voivodeship. The changes do not apply to MUX-8, which is broadcasted in a different band and is not the subject of refarming.

“The preparations and execution of the project were performed for many months. Previously such a technically-complex undertaking was executed by our specialists 10 years ago, when the television broadcasting standard was being changed from analogue to digital. I am proud of our engineers and specialists, because despite objective difficulties and restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic the project stage was executed perfectly. Moreover, more than 100 Emitel technical crews have done an extraordinary thing by completing works planned for 3 days in a much shorter time. The interest of the viewer and broadcasters is most important in our activities. That is why the vast majority of the works was executed during late night hours and breaks in TV signal broadcasting were very short” – said Andrzej J. Kozłowski, Chairman of the Board at Emitel S.A.

The entire undertaking and technical design were planned to make the changes least burdensome for the recipients of terrestrial television which is very popular. The viewers affected by the changes in the manner of broadcasting do not have to make any corrections in the settings of their receiver antennae. The broadcasting standard was not changed either, we are still using the DVB-T. After changing the broadcasting frequency, the vast majority of TV receivers or decoders will automatically update the list of TV programs. In the case of older receiver models, it may be necessary for the recipient to repeat the channel search process. It is a simple operation that can be done through the TV settings menu by using a remote control.

“From the point of view of the terrestrial television viewers, the change in the broadcasting frequency should not cause major difficulties. The signal broadcasting directions from the Emitel broadcasting facilities have not changed, so it isn’t necessary to adjust the receiver antennae. In most cases, the TV is automatically updating the channels list. The biggest changes have yet to come. In 2022, we will be making further reconnections and there will be a new and better broadcasting standard – the DVB-T2/HEVC. Therefore, if we decide to purchase a new TV receiver, it is worth making sure that it has the correct technical parameters” – said Jerzy Godek, Board Member on Technology at Emitel S.A.

The next stage of the 700Mhz band refarming project is planned for March 2022 and the complete clearance of the 700MHz band will take place before 30 June 2022. At that time, the broadcasting standard will be switched to DVB-T2/HEVC. In comparison to the currently functioning standard, DVB-T2/HEVC enables a more optimal use of the available band. This will enable broadcasting all TV programs in the HD standard. The National Action Plan for the 700 MHz band repurposing in Poland (document developed by the Ministry of Digital Affairs) also assumes the ability to launch new multiplexers. It will therefore be possible to launch new programs and the viewers will be able to receive even ultra-high definition (UHD) imaging.