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Gov't urged to tolerate delay in upgrade to digital TV.

TOKYO, Sept. 14 Kyodo The chief of an advisory panel to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications on Tuesday called for the ministry to tolerate some delay in its plan to have television stations replace their analog broadcast facilities with land-based digital facilities by around 2010.

Makoto Kitagawa, chief of the ministry's joint study commission on the land-based digital broadcast plan, said the ministry should give broadcasters greater flexibility in deciding how speedily they will live up to the ministry plan.

Kitagawa, president of Television Niigata Network Co., represents the television industry on the advisory committee.

"The ministry's initial plan is extremely tough for broadcasting stations to comply with," he said.

Industry and government should not treat the 2010 policy goal as a mandatory deadline, he said.

Kitagawa was responding to a set of recommendations made last October by another advisory panel to the ministry that land-based TV stations launch full-scale digital broadcasting in the urbanized regions of Kanto, Kinki and Tokai by the end of 2003.

The panel also proposed Japan completely replace land-based analog broadcasts with digital broadcasts by around 2010 after expediting the use of digital broadcasts in nonurban areas across the nation during the 2003-2010 transition period.

The commission on which Kitagawa sits plans to assign in April 2000 digital broadcast frequencies and their corresponding television channels to each main broadcasting station, called "parent stations" in industry circles, in large cities nationwide.

The commission plans to do the same for relay stations in small cities by the end of 2001.

But Kitagawa pledged that the land-based television broadcasting industry, the rival of satellite broadcasters, will do its utmost to live up to the ministry plan as quickly as possible.

"If we fail to replace our facilities with digital facilities, the very foundation of the land-based broadcasting industry would be jeopardized," he said.

Industry analysts have said satellite-based digital broadcasters will encroach upon the business turf that has long belonged to the land-based broadcasting industry if the latter fail to digitalize their facilities.
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Comment:Gov't urged to tolerate delay in upgrade to digital TV.
Publication:Japan Consumer Electronics Scan
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Sep 20, 1999
Words:336
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