Juan Fernandez Gonzalez | 19-09-2013
The European Commission (EC) has given the Spanish Government four months to reclaim the €236 million in DTT subsidies which was paid to various operators in 2005 – when the Spanish analogue switch-off took place – in order to take DTT signal to remote parts of the country.
The EC had already stated in June that these subsidies were illegal, mainly because this public financial help didn't fit in with the EU's free competition rules as it favoured one kind of technology over other TV technologies (satellite, cable and Internet).
The complete ruling was published this week, but doesn't state the names of the companies affected, apparently because the Spanish Government hasn't sent this information to the Commission.
According to Europa Press, Abertis and Retevisión were the companies which benefited most. However, within two months, a list with all the operators affected should be sent to Brussels in addition to a certification that the process has been started to take the subsidies back.
The EC's investigation started in 2010, after a satellite operator complained about the subsidies. The investigation showed that no other technologies apart from DTT had been taken in account in order to digitise Spain's TV network.