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Fuji Television Network, Inc.

Broadcasting is swiftly resumed in an emergency situation such as natural disaster.
BCP system reinforced with superior mobility reserve broadcasting equipment.

Overview of the case

Background

  • One of the missions of a broadcaster is to ensure broadcasting continuity. Broadcasters are required to take measures to keep on broadcast service even in the event of emergency such as natural disasters.
  • It was essential for Fuji Television to have an all band type transmitter that could be used among its affiliate stations around the country.

Results

A rack configuration that can be divided into multiple units was adopted. This enables the broadcasting equipment to easily be loaded onto an aircraft or vehicle, offering mobility and quick recovery.

The transportable reserve transmitter is designed for emergency purpose. In case of an emergency, the personnel of Fuji Television Head Office can carry it to the stricken site and easily assemble it to resume transmission in a matter of few hours

The transmitter can be operated in all channels (frequencies) in the UHF band.

The new reserve transmitter was built by combining domestic transmission technologies with proven all-band technology used in overseas transmission equipment. This realizes the reinforcement of the BCP system.

Introduced solution

Details

Background and issue before adoption

Nobuaki Abiko,
General Manager in Charge of Desk,
Transmission Technology Division, Technology Office,
Fuji Television Network, Inc.

Our urgent issue was to create a structure and have a transmission equipment that can keep on broadcasting even in an emergency situation.

Fuji Television Network, Inc. (hereinafter ”Fuji Television”) adopts "CHALLENGE AND CREATION" as its corporate mission. As the first item on its declaration of action is “Social Responsibility”, the company cites "We recognize the impact of the social influence that the media bears and therefore, we have the responsibility to deliver fair, equitable and reliable information”.

Broadcast plays an important role in the social infrastructure. Except for shut down for maintenance and inspection, broadcast is required to provide service for 24 hours a day/365 days a year. In recent years, however, large-scale natural disasters such as large typhoons and torrential rain have struck different parts of the country and caused damages that have had a major impact on television broadcasting.

In January 2018, one of Fuji Television’s affiliate’s master station’s antenna tower was struck by lightning, causing a fire in the cabling and broadcasting equipment and stopped the station’s transmission. Around 380,000 households in the service area were unable to receive the transmission signal. Broadcasting was resumed using a makeshift antenna, while it took more than six months to complete the repairs.

The typhoons 15 and 19 which occurred in September and October 2019 respectively inflicted a tremendous damage on Chiba Prefecture. The power transmission tower collapsed by the strong winds and caused power outage in various parts of the prefecture. These power outages led Fuji Television and other private broadcasting companies, as well as NHK, to suspend transmission from about half of the satellite stations in the prefecture. Generators were brought in to restore transmissions.

"Our recent experiences with natural disasters made us realize anew that we had to prepare reserve transmission equipment and cables in advance to ensure that we could continue broadcasting, as well as how important it was to create a system capable of maintaining our broadcasts in the event of a sudden disaster," says Nobuaki Abiko, Nobuaki, General Manager in Charge of Desk, Transmission Technology Division, Technology Office, Fuji Television.

Selection Points

Considering normal output power of 1 kW, the transmitter must ensure output of 100 W by using some parts of its components.
The transmitter designed for multi-purpose usages: high mobility, all-band transmission and variable output power.


From the experience with the disasters, Fuji Television has learned that it was important to create a BCP system so that it could always maintain its broadcast services Abiko emphasizes, "What is important for maintaining broadcasting is quick recovery and business continuity." Quick recovery involves having the ability to bring a reserve transmitter to a location where transmission has either failed or operating at greatly reduced output power, and resume normal transmission immediately. For this reason, Fuji Television has reserve transmitters that can be brought to its own large-scale satellite stations. Furthermore, it can be loaned to its affiliate stations in the event of an emergency.

Thus, the main points that must be considered are mobility, all band transmission, and variable output power.

The first point is mobility. This is because, to bring a transmitter to a location, it is necessary to divide it into multiple units and then load them onto an aircraft or a vehicle and rush them to where they are needed. Many stations have their broadcasting towers built on mountain tops, which may be difficult to access by vehicle. For this reason, it is important that the size and weight of the reserve transmitter be as that of broadcasting station staff can carry it on their backs and assemble it on the spot.

The second point is all band transmission. This technology has been adopted for transmitters developed by NEC for overseas broadcasters. Such transmitters can be set to any channels by simply pushing a control button on the spot. In Japan, a PA is set for each channel prior to delivery. However for this particular system, a single PA can support various channels.

The third is the most critical point, which is variable output power. Fuji Television has a plan of resuming broadcast in two stages. The first stage would be the resumption of broadcasting within 24 hours after an accident or failure. In this stage, the output would be around 100 W, focusing more on just “providing the signal." In general, domestic transmitters operate on 200 V, but we had to ensure that the transmitter could operate (in the first stage) on 100V (power outlet of a common household) as well in an emergency situation " (Abiko). To realize this, the know-how gained from the development of 100V transmitters for overseas customers was used.

In the second stage, about one week will be spent to bring the output up to 1 kW. "Before the full restoration of the transmission equipment, including the antennas and cables, this reserve transmitter will enable us to continue to provide our broadcasts," explains Abiko.

NEC’s proposal of “emergency transportable reserve transmitter” was well received by Fuji Television. "The proposed transmitter fully met our requirements and our concept of quick recovery and business continuity. We have been partnering with NEC in transmission equipment and using its equipment for a long time. Thus we have great confidence in NEC's transmission equipment," explains Abiko, describing the reasons for the selection.

Results after installation

Quick recovery and business continuity can be done with a single transmitter. Stepwise restoration is now possible.

Although the emergency transportable reserve transmitter is yet to be used in practice, Abiko explains about the expected effects as follows: "We are able to install a transmitter capable of achieving 100W to 1KW that can satisfy all of our requirements, from readiness to business continuity, with one single equipment. In a case of emergency, we think that we can operate this reserve transmitter for six months to a year, while we prepare a full spec. main/standby transmitter."

Fuji Television is currently creating a structure to prepare for natural disasters. Besides the reserve transmitter, they are also preparing reserve coaxial cables and antennas, and are considering to execute trainings on the assembly of the transmitter. Finally, Abiko stated, "We hope that NEC continues to take on new challenges, like this emergency transportable reserve transmitter, and come up with even better proposals."

Comment from NEC staff member in charge

NEC
Sumitaka Ohtake, Department Manager,
First System Department,
Broadcast and Media Division

The reserve transmitter is developed by combining domestic and overseas products and technologies

For this project, we have applied all-band technology that was developed for overseas market but this transportable reserve transmitter is intended solely for domestic use. Thus, the strong point of this transmitter is that it combines domestic and overseas hardware and technologies.

For example, to create high-frequency signals, we use a domestic product for exciter modulator. However, the control systems used in domestic and overseas products are different and we need to make some modifications in the control

We believe that the design to assemble the reserve transmitter on the site and switching channels by simple operation is a unique technology of NEC - cultivated through many years of experience in Japan and overseas. The emergency transportable reserve transmitter is a brand-new device. However, the technologies employed for this transmitter are not all new but uses field-proven technologies such as all-band. This way, we are confident that customer will use the equipment with great Aease.

Customer profile

Fuji Television Network, Inc.

Established October 1st, 2008 (through an incorporation-type company split)
Inauguration of Service March 1st, 1959
Capital 8.8 billion yen
Number of Employees 1,314
Office Head Office 2-4-8 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Station Tokyo Skytree
Besides the Kansai and Nagoya Branches, there are overseas offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

株式会社フジテレビジョン様

Product and solution


(November 17, 2020)