€11.5m bill for Spain DTT extension
January 12, 2015
From David Del Valle in Madrid
The delay until March 31st 2015 of the digital switch-off and the DTT reset deadline will have an extra cost of almost €11.5 million in Spain, according to the government. In the three months until March, each day will equate to an extra cost of €127,500, which makes a total of €11,475,000 to March 31st as the telcos are not obliged in this period to pay for tax whilst using a radioelectric spectrum.
The government will also have to compensate the telcos by extending their licences by 1.27 days per each day of delay totalling 115 more. days
Additionally, if the telco operators decide to take the case to court, they could be compensated with €9 million a month (€300,000 a day) for the delay in releasing the planned frequencies.
The government decided to delay the digital switch-off and the DTT reset deadline to prevent between 2 and 4 million Spaniards from losing their TV signals on January 1st – the initial deadline to complete the digital migration – as by that time only 50 per cent of buildings were ready to receive the signals from the new frequencies band. Now, it is even being put into question that by March 31st the reset may reach around just 80 per cent of the population.
TV broadcasters are now simulcasting 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, were the main reasons not to meet the December deadline, according to the installers.
The decision to delay the DTT migration is having a negative impact on telco operators which should have started providing their 4G services on the 790- 862 Mhz from January 1st and whose plans had to be re-scheduled, after paying €1.2 billion in the auction of the frequencies.