EU regions go digital

European regions exploit the development of digital terrestrial television to promote innovation and economic development.

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Context

Despite the complexity and diversity of the EU communications market, the switchover to digital services presents a similar set of problems in most countries and regions. Therefore, in order to learn from the experiences of others, certain European regions have decided to co-operate and to promote harmonised digital development in Europe.

The DICE (Digital innovation through cooperation in Europe) project focuses on facilitating the exchange of experiences between seven European regions that are in the process of introducing digital terrestrial television and related services. The project specifically focuses on optimising opportunities presented by digital terrestrial television to promote regional economic development, and in particular, SMEs in the media and telecommunication sector. Related issues addressed by the project include consumer acceptance, technical standards, business models, and regulatory frameworks.

The Federal State of Berlin, represented by the Senate Department for Economics, Labour and Women's Issues, is the lead partner in this project which also includes the following authorities: the Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications (Austria); the Department of Trade and Industry (UK); the City of Gavle (Mellersta Norrland, Sweden); the Polish Chamber of Commerce for Electronics and Telecommunications KIGEiT (Mazowiecke, Poland); the National Communications Authority of Hungary; the Information Society Development Committee of Lithuania.

Development through digitalisation

The overall objective of DICE is to examine the impact on the partner regions of the technical changes in the area of digitalisation, and to find out how these changes can be exploited to promote economic development in the regions. The project specifically focuses on stimulating digital services, applications and content that creates new markets, reduces costs and increases productivity throughout the economy. It is envisaged that SMEs will be the main provider of the content and applications and I this way the project will contribute to economic development and job creation in the regions.

The ultimate aim is to assist the partner regions to develop competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economies, with improved employment, and to foster social cohesion between the regions.

Results

The project initially focused on developing or strengthening co-operations between the partners and on the establishment of networks of regional and national policy makers and relevant SMEs. Individual working groups were set up to address issues such as social acceptance, business models, frequency policy and regulation, interactive services, migration, implementation and business opportunities. The activities of these networks are supported through conferences and summits.

Through these activities the DICE project is helping to strengthen the capacity of the partner regions to switch from analogue to digital television and is supporting the development of common standardised approaches. Through the identification and transfer of best practices, digital services and applications thereof are promoted and new markets are created. As a direct result of the collaboration facilitated by the DICE project, the partners have gained a technological edge in the area of digital terrestrial television and participating regions are profiting from being at the forefront of developing new digital standards, which will be transferable to other regions.


Draft date

01/06/2006