Uncertainty over Portuguese DTT refund
By Julian Clover
Published: June 24, 2010 07.41 Europe/London

Doubts have been raised over whether Portugal Telecom is entitled to compensation following the revocation of DTT licences originally intended for the launch of pay-TV services.A series of hearings are currently underway in the Portuguese parliament that were expected to decide on the future of the capacity that broadcasters are now hoping can be used for free-to-air HD channels.

Media regulatory Anacom, said it accepted the request for revocation of the spectrum and has agreed to return the security deposit of €2.5 million already paid by the company. However, the Regulatory Authority for Social Communication (ERC) refused to accept the request, through the decision is not binding and must now enter a consultation phase.

The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Jorge Lacão, said yesterday that “all possibilities are open” as to the future use of the capacity. Speaking to members of parliamentary committees on Ethics and Public Works, Lacão said the government intends to assess all the possible options available to it.

The Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications, António Mendonça, said he was not concerned about the timetable for national coverage and said the country was on course for the analogue switch off planned for April 26, 2012. Currently 83% of the country can receive digital TV services and universal penetration is anticipated by the end of the year.

Portugal Telecom said it intended to launch a petition to clarify the situation.