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Spain acquitted of illegal DTT subsidies

December 20, 2017

From David Del Valle in Madrid

The European Union’s Court of Justice has examined earlier verdicts and judgements which favoured the Kingdom of Spain in respect of the financing the deployment of DTT in the country with €300 million.

The Luxembourg Court overruled the European Commission’s decision to force the Spanish Administration to recover the €300 million given to the companies on the grounds that it has not been proved that it was a financial aid to the benefit of specific DTT companies.

The conflict dates back to 2013 when the European Commission ruled that the SES Astra’s complaints about the alleged illegal DTT subsidies were justified and insisted the Spanish Government get the money back. The EC ruled that these were against free competition and technological neutrality to the benefit of DTT players and to the detriment of the European satellite operator.

Between 2005 and 2009, the Government invested €300 million in the deployment of DTT throughout the country, primarily across isolated areas. Private TV operators were obliged to cover 96 per cent of the country and public broadcasters, 98 per cent.

SES Astra took the case to the EC on the grounds that it was discriminatory.

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