Abertis will lose €20m on Spanish DTT revamp

Abertis Telecom, responsible for carrying all DTT signals, will pay a heavy toll as a result of the reduction from 10 to seven DTT multiplexes in the new DTT map.

The company will lose €20 million a year in carriage revenues, according to its General Director, Tobias Martinez. “In the short term, this (the DTT reduction) will have a very negative impact, although we need to know the details (of the plan)”. He fears that the convertion of the estimated 1.2 million SMATV antennas is not completed by January 2014 running the risk of “losing the reception of certain channels”.

To mitigate the financial impact, Abertis Telecom plans to develop new services such as mobile phone services following the recent agreement with Telefonica to acquire 500 mobile phone towers for €45 million.

The Spanish Government is set to approve a new DTT technical plan following the recent agreement with broadcasters to reduce their DTT frequencies and the green light to the allocation of the so-called digital dividend.

The new plan will seea new DTT map with broadcasters migrating to other frequencies as their present ones will be used by telco operators to develop 4G and other added-value services.

The whole process must be completed before January 2014 and will now cost €300 million under the new plan, €600 million less than the previous migration plan as a result of the cut in DTT frequencies. Users will have to pay  to re-adapt their DTT dishes as the Administration lacks of money to finance it.

Private broadcasters accepted to give up one multiplex out of the six they are operating at the present time with public operators, the nationwide RTVE and the Regional TV stations, dropping one multiplex each resulting in a DTT map with seven DTT multiplexes for all TV operators.

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