The Regional Government of Cantabria, north of Spain, has been ordered to pay €3.5 million to SES Iberica, the subsidiary company in Spain of SES, after being found guilty by a local Court of unilaterally breaking the contract to extend the DTT service to the Region through satellite distribution.
SES had claimed damages of almost €22 million. In March 2008 the Luxembourg-based company won a public tender valued at €4.5 million to extend DTT to the whole region through satellite distribution as the cheapest choice to make DTT available. But in September that year the central Government decided to financially back (around €320 million per each Region plus €70 million for maintenance costs) the terrestrial infrastructure to extend DTT. The Regional Administration cancelled the contract on the grounds that SES would only have to cover 1.4 per cent of the Cantabria’s territory against the initial 30 per cent.
This is the first SES’s victory in its battle against Spain’s state subsidies to extend DTT in the country, a practice that the satellite company regards as being in breach of free competition in the market a case it has taken to the European Authorities. The European Commission is looking into the Spain’s plan to develop DTT to determine whether it is breaking technology neutrality and free competition.