EC OKs Spain’s DTT aid scheme
April 15, 2019
By Colin Mann
The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €150 million Spanish aid scheme to support households that would otherwise lose television reception after the migration of digital terrestrial TV signal transmission from the 694-790 MHz frequency band to lower frequencies.
This migration follows a Decision of the European Parliament and the Council in 2017 that imposed the release of the 700 MHz band from DTT use by June 2020, to allow the deployment of 5G mobile telecommunication services. The 2017 Decision provides that Member States should ensure the availability of the sub-700 MHz band for DTT until 2030 and may compensate the direct costs incurred by end-users for keeping access to television services.
The aid will be granted to associations representing the owners of affected multi-household buildings. The purpose of the aid is to cover the costs incurred for retuning or replacing the current equipment in collective buildings, namely in terms of purchasing new equipment to enable access to television services.
The Commission assessed the aid measure under EU State aid rules. It found that the aid is limited to the costs that are strictly necessary to incentivise the affected households to adapt their television reception equipment before the 700Mhz band is vacated and reception is lost. Furthermore, the measure will contribute to the EU objective of introducing 5G mobile services.
The Commission therefore concluded that the measure is in line with EU State aid rules.