Hong Kong was on track to implement digital terrestrial television next year, Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology Joseph Wong Wing-ping said on Wednesday. Mr Wong told the Legislative Council that after two rounds of extensive consultation in 2000 and 2003, the government in July 2004 announced the framework for implementing DTT. 'The two domestic free television programme service licensees, namely Asia Television [ATV] and Television Broadcasts [TVB], shall launch DTT by 2007 and expand digital coverage to at least 75 per cent of Hong Kong by 2008,' Mr Wong said. He said these conditions constituted part of the conditions of ATV and TVB's domestic free television programme service licences. 'According to the implementation framework, if the mainland has not promulgated a national standard before the end of this year, the government will adopt a market-led approach to the selection of DTT technical standard. 'Earlier when the mainland did not promulgate the national standard, ATV and TVB indicated that they would consider adopting the European DVB-T standard, which has been widely adopted internationally,' he explained. The technology secretary said ATV and TVB had tested the DVB-T standard before and tests indicated it was suitable for Hong Kong. 'In August this year, the mainland authorities announced the national standard. Assisted by the Office of the Telecommunications Authority [Ofta], ATV and TVB have recently tested the national standard.' He said that by the end of this year, ATV and TVB should submit their proposal for the technical standard to the Telecommunications Authority (TA). 'After evaluating their proposal based on the merits of the proposed technical standard and on-site testing results, the TA will decide whether the proposed standard should be adopted.' He said ATV and TVB had not submitted their proposal for technical standard. 'According to our understanding, ATV and TVB have just completed the initial testing of the national standard and are drafting the testing report,' Mr Wong added. He said Ofta was liaising with the two broadcasters. 'According to the implementation framework, the two broadcasters shall submit their proposal by the end of this year. Up to now, the two broadcasters have not requested the Administration to extend the deadline for the submission of technical standard proposal,' Mr Wong said. 'Since we announced the implementation framework, the implementation of DTT has made good progress.' He said the Broadcasting Authority and the TA had approved ATV and TVB's proposals for DTT programme services and network rollout plans, respectively. 'The two broadcasters are embarking on network planning, design and construction, as well as testing the transmission and reception of digital signals. 'Our assessment is that the two broadcasters will be able to launch DTT within 2007 in accordance with the implementation framework, regardless of which technical standard is adopted,' added Mr Wong.