I’ve been asked by several people to comment on the choice of a Japanese standard for digital broadcasting in Sri Lanka, as part of the process of clearing the 700 MHz band of analog TV broadcasting and making the freed up spectrum available for more productive uses. I have not commented, partly because I lack the time to research the subject. But I have not made the effort to reallocate priorities in order to make time for this task because I know that refarming (which is what the digital transition is in essence) is inherently problematic and hard to do. There are pros and cons associated with all standards and there are vested interests that benefit or lose from any standards decision. I have lived long enough to know that there is no objective and undisputed superior standard.
It appeared that convergence was high on the agenda of Sri Lanka’s telecom operators. SLT introduced IPTV and Dialog put together a whole set of services including a satellite TV service and purchased a terrestrial license as well. There was talk of mobile TV being introduced. The new TV regulatory regime introduced surreptitiously as regulations under an archaic 1982 Act will to put a stop to many of these plans, if the government manages to defend it from its many opponents and the difficult-to-predict Supreme Court. Dialog for example may have to exit the satellite and terrestrial TV businesses altogether, because only public companies with majority Sri Lankan ownership can even apply for these licenses.