Spain: No money to fund second digital migration
June 7, 2012
From David Del Valle in Madrid
Spanish households will have to pay the bill for the second digital migration to be started this autumn and completed before January 2014 , one year earlier than expected, within the so-called digital dividend allocation plan.
Contrary to initial expectations, there will be hardly any public funds to finance the migration as the Administration will only dedicate €45 million to that, a minimum part of the total estimated cost of €800 million. Initially, the Government undertook to finance the whole process following it had got €1,305 million from telco operators to have access to the released radioelectric spectrum band to implement 4G services. But, now, due to “budget restrictions”, in words of the State Secretary for Telecommunications, Victor Calvo-Sotelo, the Administration cannot afford it.
Broadcasters and telco operators have already rejected to foot the bill. Viewers will have to spend their money to adapt the antennas to the new DTT frequencies. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry continues holding negotiations with broadcasters in an attempt to reduce the DTT channels or dedicate less space to DTT to the benefit of the new telco 4G services. The allocation plan should be approved before the second migration phase has started in September. Broadcasters have rejected the possibility of reducing by half their DTT channels as the Government initially proposed. Now, the Government is considering to reduce DTT bandwidth to maintain all DTT channels but in less radioelectric space.