Chile starts DTT rollout

DetailsJuan Fernandez Gonzalez | 20 April 2015

A year after passing the necessary regulations, and nearly seven years since the process started, Chile's Government and telecom regulator Anatel have started the roll-out of DTT and free-to-air (FTA) TV networks.

The first DTT networks will air in two years, and the switch-off is scheduled for 2020, following a gradual deployment across the country. The national networks will be the first to start broadcasting digitally, and are due to air a digital signal in every regional country by 2017.

"The government and the Chilean networks are co-ordinating the necessary initiatives to make the technical changes needed to deploy DTT as soon as possible across the national territory," explained Álvaro Elizalde, Secretary General of the government.

The DTT regulation includes some controversial issues that finally seem to have been accepted by the networks, such as the mandatory broadcasting of at least two DTT networks and one digital signal for mobile devices and the need to deliver free set-top boxes for the remote areas of the country.

From now, Chile's networks have 60 days to apply for the licences and present a deployment schedule. After that, the national TV council and the Ministry for Telecoms will review the applications and award the licences.

"By the end of the year, we will be awarding the licences," said minister Andrés Gómez-Lobo. "For 2016, we expect to have defined the national licences and to have solved the issues regarding the second mandatory channel."

The Chilean Government has been preparing the process for almost a year, since the Parliament sanctioned the DTT law at the end of May 2014 after over five years of bureaucracy.