From Branislav Pekic in Rome
Portugal Telecom has proposed to sector regulator Anacom that the DTT spectrum reserved for pay-TV channels is assigned to existing national broadcasters RTP, SIC and TVI to launch HD versions of their channels.
The proposal follows Portugal Telecom's request for the revocation of its license to operate a pay-TV DTT multiplex that is now being considered by the country's regulatory bodies (Anacom and ERC). Portugal Telecom had until January 31 to launch its pay-TV platform DTT or risk loosing its license.
The 2007 tender for the free-to-air DTT multiplex included the launch of a fifth national terrestrial TV channel and a sixth in HD, which would be shared by RTP, SIC, TVI and the 5th channel. This solution was considered as unfeasible, as the grid and program schedules would have to be discussed and agreed between the various competitors.
In the request for the annulment of the license, Portugal Telecom claims that the market conditions have changed since the tender was launched. Among the arguments mentioned are that DTH packages are cheaper than those in its DTT proposal; the number of pay-TV subscribers has increased; investments in NGN have also increased, with tenders launched for networks in remote and rural areas.