Spain’s new government confirms DTT roadmap

From David Del Valle in Madrid

The new Minister of Industry, Miguel Sebastian, has confirmed the analogue switch-off deadline, scheduled for April 3 2010, ruling out a delay in the migration to digital, contrary to Sogecable’s hopes of a deferment.

The decision to allow pay DTT services, as broadcasters such as Mediapro – a shareholder in La Sexta – had demanded, Mediapro, has been conditional on an possible agreement amongst all TV operators. “We have time till 2010 (to make a decision). We are studying several possibilities and would like that there was a consensus”, said the minister. This seems to be a difficult task as some operators are against pay DTT services, such as Tele 5 that has asked for a 5-years moratorium to allow those pay TV services.

The current legislation obliges digital operators to broadcast free-to-air, although the Government is willing to change it to allow pay DTT services. Mediapro has announced the launch of a pay-TV DTT channel over the next months to offer football and Formula 1.

In the meantime, the digital migration is facing a new challenge with the analogue switch-off in the province of Soria next July 23. It will be the first real test in a Spanish region with more than 50,000 inhabitants to know whether the migration is working or not. More than 18,000 homes will only receive digital TV in a process financed by the Administration with E3.2 million destined to buying set-top-boxes and adapting aerials. The state subsidies range between E450 per each building to adapt the dishes and E60 to help people buy MHP-based boxes and E15 for the installation.

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