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The new DTT plan the Spanish government is finalising for approval before the year end will cost over 20,000 jobs, claims the Association of Electronic, IT and Digital Content Companies (Ametic). It says it will reduce the number of TV channels, limit the available resources to broadcast TV and the quality of the transmissions.
Ametic has accused the government of changing the rules in the middle of the match “seriously damaging the evolution of DTT in Spain” by approving a new DTT plan that will pave the way for the migration of DTT frequencies as a result of the so-called digital dividend to be started in Q2 next year and completed before January 2014. “We became a reference in the take-up of DTT in other countries and now we are sending out a message that we are taking DTT to pieces in Spain,” added Ametic.
The new DTT plan provides for a reduction of up to 3 multiplexes (with a capacity of up to 4 TV channels) out of the current 10: private TV broadcasters will lose one multiplex; RTVE, another and state-owned Regional TV stations, the third one. The present 24 nationwide DTT channels will remain although they will use less bandwidth which is likely to have a negative impact on new added-value services (HDTV, 3D TV, VoD).
The new plan will lay the groundwork for the DTT migration that will release frequencies for the development of 4G services. The government has allocated €2.6 million to a public campaign to inform citizens about the new TV switch-off. Spaniards will have to foot the €300 million bill to implement the DTT migration, though, as the Administration has reduced to €10 million, only 3 per cent of the total cost, the planned financial aid of €40 million for lack of money.
Around 1.2 million antennas in the country will have to be re-adapted with Spanish residents’ associations paying an average of €240 to get the SMATV antennas converted. The total cost of adapting the antennas is estimated at €300 million.
Broadcasters has to migrate to other frequencies and release the 800 MHz band by January 1st 2014 so that this band can be used by operators to provide mobile broadband services.
The Electronic Industry believes that the new government DTT plan will result in the loss of 23,000 jobs.