Spanish government denies digital dividend strategy hindering HDTV

Iñaki Ferreras ©RapidTVNews | 09-05-2012

Spain’s Ministry of Industry has denies the charge that the implementation of the 'digital dividend' by 2014 (instead of 2015 as previously established) will not prevent the development of HDTV on DTT.

The country’s Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society (SETSI), Victor Calvo Sotelo, is insisting that any "temporary solution" is reached with the audiovisual sector to release the spectrum used by broadcasters for new mobile technologies known as 'digital dividend' will not prevent future development of HD. Indeed Sotelo is adamant that negotiations with broadcasters and other interested parties will continue to "open" and he hopes "to reach agreement in the coming weeks "to advance the arrival of 4G mobile technology” by January 2014.

"We are aware, and have included in these talks, whatever the temporary solution has to include the need to develop in Spain High Definition television," he declared.

Asked about the options being considered, Sotelo indicated that "there are different variants," as "attempting to concentrating the prosecution in more antenización of those frequencies." In this sense, although it has not clarified whether to reduce the spectrum allocated to TV channels, as has been reported, the minister pointed out that it si possible for the technology to allow “a narrower range [to] be maintained” or even increase "the number of DTT channels.

Yet he also announced a "future", specifically in "five or six years," that there will be "several changes" and likely will be a "second digital dividend, which further reduces the scope of frequencies reserved for television, "although he qualified that this horizon" may also be subject to change."

According to the Framework Plan for Digital Dividend liberalisation, developed by the previous Socialist government, the chains of DTT should return to change frequency from July 2012, which implies that approximately one and half million of apartment buildings have to readjust your antenna or re-tune their televisions in individual households, from that moment, as with the 'digital switchover'.

Sotelo also indicated that his Ministry has sat with all the audiovisual sector players to "seek together a new scheme" and "recognise that there will be a cost of €800 million" because the previous government spent it, and "even although it had been available, the new conditions of budgetary restraint "would have prevented use.