The next major update of the 3GPP mobile broadband standard will include features to enable public service broadcasters to deliver their content to 4G – and ultimately 5G – devices, according to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
3GPP Release 14, which is expected in June, will include a standardised interface for broadcasters to provide content which is then transported over LTE eMBMS, a service layer components broadly aligned with the profiles commonly used for TV distribution over traditional platforms, and improvements in the radio access network to enable cost-efficient rollout of wide area eMBMS coverage, according to the EBU, which contributed to the process.
The organisation said that work on the release was still ongoing, with further work to be done on developing the TV service layer in LTE as well as broadcast capabilities in 5G
In a video interview published by 3GPP last month, 3GPP chairman Erik Gutman said that there had been “support for broadcast for some time within 3GPP” with a system-wide mechanism for delivering multicast and broadcast content. However, he said, this had not had wide commercial adoption. He said the forthcoming release would identify what factors needed to be addressed and “make as much headway as possible”.
“We will now offer a standardised interface for broadcasters to provide content. We will have mechanisms within the system to provide profiles to provide mechanisms for direct transmission of content from broadcasters that are using digital standards. We will also offer a broadcasting system for streaming and delivery that complies with a whole set of profiles that are widely adopted in the industry. Last and quite important, we will have advances on the radio access side that will lower the cost and broaden the coverage,” said Gutman.
“These were areas where studies were done by the broadcasting community, and in particular the EBU, where they identified shortcomings. We have addressed those and I have direct experience with the community from the conference I just attended and it seems it is not a question of if this technology will be adopted, but when there will be larger adoption.”
Gutman separately said he was confident the most crucial elements of 5G mobile would be identified and addressed by September 2018. He said that 5G was “not a one-release project” but that 3GPP would take a piece-by-piece approach to developing standards.