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The Spanish government’s new DTT plan has been turned down by the private TV broadcasters – Antena 3 TV, Mediaset, Net TV and Veo TV – on the grounds that it will put the reception of all free-to-air DTT channels at risk.
The broadcasters also severely criticised the fact that citizens have to pay the DTT migration and not the government – which collected €1.8 billion in the auction of telco frequencies as a result of the digital dividend.
The broadcasters have accused the government of changing the terms of the agreement they reached with the Administration last August to reduce the multiplexes.
The broadcasters refusal comes soon after the Electronics industry has also cried out against the new DTT plan, saying that it will reduce the number of TV channels, limit the available resources to broadcast TV and the quality of transmissions.
The new DTT plan outlines 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 etc).
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, although, as the Administration’s contribution has been reduced to €10 million, only 3 per cent of the total cost – the planned financial aid of €40 million is not enough.
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.