Spain approves 3 month extension to DSO

The Spanish government has bowed to the pressure of the industry and market to delay until March 31st 2015 the digital switch-off and the DTT reset deadline.

The government has made the decision to prevent between 2 and 4 million Spaniards from losing their TV signals from January 1st, the initial deadline to complete the digital migration, as by that time only 50 per cent of buildings would be ready to receive the signals from the new frequencies band.

TV broadcasters must now simulcast their TV transmissions both in their current 800 Mhz band and in their new frequencies until the new deadline.

All involved players in the DTT migration had asked the Government for a moratorium on the grounds that the DTT reset process would not be completed on time by December 31st. By the end of October, only 83,066 buildings, representing less than 10 per cent of the total (1 million buildings, with 13 million homes), had only been re-tuned. Lack of time to execute the DTT reset, plus a lack of necessary equipment to adapt the aerials, have been the main reasons not to meet the December deadline, according to the installers.

The decision to delay the DTT migration will have a negative impact on telco operators which should start providing their 4G services on the 790- 862 Mhz from January 1st and whose plans have to be re-scheduled, after paying €1.2 billion in the auction of the frequencies. Telefonica, Vodafone and Orange are reportedly considering to taking the case to court to ask for compensation.

It is estimated that the Spanish government could have to pay the telco operators at least €9 million a month (€300,000 a day) for the delay in releasing the planned frequencies.

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