New EC setback to Spain’s DTT subsidies
October 3, 2014
From David Del Valle in Madrid
Spain has suffered a new setback over subsidies to extend DTT throughout the country. The European Commission has ruled that the €46 million subsidies given in the Spanish Region of Castilla-La Mancha to finance the DTT deployment in isolated areas are illegal on the grounds that they break European legislation.
Brussels has concluded that the subsidies went against the principle of technological neutrality as they favoured digital terrestrial technology to the detriment of other distribution platforms such as satellite, cable or the Internet. Moreover, the EC has argued that the subsidies were also granted to just two DTT companies, thereby discriminating other such operators.
Spanish DTT platform operators now must pay back those state subsidies. This is the second big setback to Spain over DTT subsidies in a year as in 2013, Brussels ordered Spain to pay back €260 million to finance the transition to DTT in remote areas in the country.
The case was taken to the EC by the Luxembourg’s SES-ASTRA on the grounds that the subsidies were discriminatory.