Portugal to complete ASO by April 2012

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

Portuguese communications regulator Anacom has put out for public consultation the plan for the analogue switch-off (ASO), with the migration to DTT to be completed by April 26th 2012.

The plan has been submitted for prior consultation to digital multiplex operator PT Comunicações and national broadcasters RTP, SIC and TVI. The regulator has set a May 18 deadline for receipt of comments.

The migration process, which has been defined as “progressive”, will be made up of three phases. The first phase will take place in January 2012 and cover the coastal areas, 70 per cent of the population and 40 per cent of the country. In the second phase, in March 2012, the ASO will include the Azores and Madeira, i.e. 5 per cent of the population. In April 2012, the analogue signal will disappear from the rest of mainland covering 25 per cent of the population. For a year, the analogue and digital platforms will transmit simultaneously.

Even before the start of the first phase, some areas will be involved in pilot projects starting from January 2011.

At the end of last year, 80 per cent of the territory already had DTT coverage and at the end of this year the coverage will be total. The task is now to convince the 1.5 million households that only receive analogue TV to migrate to DTT. The remaining 2.5 million households subscribe to a pay-TV service (Zon, Meo, Cabovisão, Optimus Clix, Vodafone, or AR Telecom) and do not have to worry about migration.

The decoders and TV equipment must be compatible with the DVB-T standard and MPEG-4/H.264 and currently retail for around E70-75 in Portugal.

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