RTL to remain on DTT in Germany

Jörn Krieger | 17-12-2013

German commercial broadcast group Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland has reconsidered its planned retreat from digital terrestrial television (DTT) following the commitment of the German Government in the new coalition treaty that it will secure the terrestrial frequency spectrum for TV broadcast usage in the long run.

"RTL decided around a year ago to terminate DTT. The fact that the Government says that it will secure the frequencies necessary for DVB-T means for us that we will reconsider our position in the question of digital terrestrial distribution and evaluate possibilities to continue terrestrial broadcasting," Tobias Schmid, head of media politics at Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
In January 2013, RTL threatened to withdraw from DTT nationwide by the end of 2014 as there was no long-term guarantee to retain the frequencies beyond 2020. Federal network agency Bundesnetzagentur proposed to allocate part of the capacity to mobile network operators. RTL's competitor ProSiebenSat.1 wants to continue using DTT, just like public broadcasters ARD and ZDF and smaller commercial channels.
The group will apply for extension of the allocation of the frequencies beyond 2014, said Schmid. RTL's decision to stick with DTT opens the chance for the introduction of successor standard DVB-T2 planned by ARD and ZDF to be performed in collaboration with the two large commercial TV groups.