EBU Director to Lead World Broadcasting Unions Technical Committee

Simon Fell, Director of the EBU Technology and Innovation Department, has been elected to chair the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) Technical Committee (TC) for a two year term (2017/18). The WBU brings together the eight broadcasting unions in matters of common interest.

The elected management team for the WBU-TC is Simon Fell (Chair), Amal Punchihewa, ABU Technical Director (Vice-Chair), and John Lee, Chairman of the NABA Technical Committee (Vice-Chair).

The WBU-TC has worked together and shared knowledge of broadcast technology and prepared common recommendations on such matters as broadcast spectrum and programme production for many decades.

Simon Fell explained: “The world’s broadcasters face many common challenges, which include protecting broadcasters and their customers from IT security threats, understanding the impact of 5G on broadcasting, investigating whether there can be common file formats for programmes, and much more. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues across the world to the benefit of us all.”

Simon Fell, Director of Technology & Innovation, EBU (Chair)

Simon Fell leads the team spearheading developments in media technologies at the EBU. He has four decades of experience, formerly with ITV as Director of Future Technologies; previously he helped establish Carlton Television where he held several executive positions and helped launch digital broadcasting.

He is currently Chairman of the ETSI Mobile Broadcast Convergence Group and previously has been President of DigiTAG and chaired the Technical Council at the UK’s Digital Television Group, and was Chairman of the HD Forum.

Additional roles include Director of Engineering for Rushes, Chief Engineer of 625 and establishing Channel Four. His early career included periods in the USA with Rank Cintel and at YTV in Leeds. He is a Fellow of both the SMPTE and RTS.

Amal Punchihewa, Director of Technology & Innovation, ABU (Vice-Chair)

Amal Punchihewa is currently the Director of Technology & Innovation at ABU. In that position, he leads a team of specialists, driving innovation of media technology in the best interest of ABU members. He facilitates technical guidelines and standards, providing expertise related to the convergence of media, and involving technical needs. He is an advisor to IET Vision and Imaging Technical and Professional Network, having previously served as an Executive committee member.

He possesses more than 30 years of experience in all three sectors of broadcasting; viz. academia, research and industry, including roles in regional capacity building in media and as head of engineering of national TV-Sri Lanka. He graduated with B.Sc. (Eng) Hons. specialised in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering from Sri Lanka, M. Eng. from Technical University of Eindhoven, the Netherlands & PhD from Massey University in New Zealand. He is a Senior Member of IEEE, Chartered Professional Engineer-CEng, Fellow of IET (UK) & Fellow of IPENZ (New Zealand).

John Lee, Chairman of the NABA Technical Committee (Vice-Chair)

John Lee retired in December 2016 as Executive Director, Technology Solutions, for CBC/Radio-Canada, Canada’s national television and radio public broadcaster. In this role, he was responsible for all DTV and Radio transmission facilities, all satellite stations and facilities, telecommunications, mobility, telephony, unified communications; and for IT, including data centers, end-user computers, applications, Information Security and governance.

In 2001, he and his project team won the Canadian Gemini Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement for the National Satellite DVC Project and, subsequently, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) International Broadcasting Excellence Award in 2002. He was the executive sponsor of the Next Generation Converged Network (NGCN) project, a high-speed 58 city software defined fibre-optic network which won the 2012 CBC President’s Award for Technical Innovation.

John Lee is a Vice-President of the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) and is Chairman of NABA’s Technical Committee. He is Vice-Chairman of the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) Technical Committee.

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About the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU)

The World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) is the coordinating body for broadcasting unions who represent broadcaster networks across the globe. It was established in 1992 as a coordinating body at the international broadcasting level. Since then, the WBU has provided global solutions on key issues for its member unions. The North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) acts as secretariat for the WBU.

The broadcasting unions who belong to the WBU are the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB), the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the International Association of Broadcasting (IAB/AIR), the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) and the Organizacion de Telecomunicaciones Iberoamericanas (OTI).