Portuguese government to review DTT channel offer

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Portugal’s Secretary of State for Cinema, Audiovisual and Media, Nuno Artur Silva, has promised an imminent “reassessment” of the national DTT offer.

Speaking during a Parliamentary hearing, he promised to resolve the issue of surplus capacity on the first national DTT multiplex, managed by Altice Portugal’s unit Meo, adding that the Government will consider the addition of two more commercial TV channels.

Silva justified the lack of progress on this issue with “an impasse in negotiations with Altice Portugal” and “changes in the TV market, both nationally with the process for the acquisition of commercial broadcaster TVI by Cofina, and internationally, with the increasing offer of streaming services”.

The expansion of the DTT offer in Portugal was approved in 2016, foreseeing two channels from public broadcaster RTP without advertising and two others reserved for commercial broadcasters, dedicated to news and sports.

It is up to the Government to choose the profile of the new channels and then, in case of a tender, the choice will be made by the Regulatory Authority for the Media (ERC).

Meanwhile, local daily Jornal de Negocios reported that Altice Portugal has launched legal action against the National Communications Authority (Anacom) regarding the timetable for the release of the 700 MHz band for 5G services, currently used for DTT.

This move was anticipated by Altice Portugal last October, when it expressed its dissatisfaction with the “amendment of the conditions attached to the right to use DTT frequencies” and the migration schedule which “was impossible to comply with”. It also announced its intention to legally challenge Anacom’s decision.

The regulator has set a date of 30 June 2020 for the completion of the process for the freeing up of the 700 MHz band.


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