Spain opens six new DTT, FTA slots

DetailsJuan Fernandez Gonzalez | 20 April 2015

Almost a year after closing down nine free-to-air (FTA) and DTT networks, the Spanish Government has started a process to award six new DTT slots, a move highly anticipated by the industry.

Three of the channels will be in high definition (HD), broadcast through the RGE2 multiplex shared with RTVE, MPE4, Mediaset and Atresmedia and MPE 5. All the new networks will be free-to-air (FTA) and each media group will be able to own two at the most: one HD and one SD.

The bids for a licence will have to be publicly presented before 28 May. For the SD channels, the government will look for networks with "different ideas and opinions" and for the HD "programming with high quality content" will be sought. The licences will be awarded within six months after the bids are presented.

The government's initial plans were to deploy five networks (four HD) through the 700MHz band, but industry pressure made the Ministry of Industry open one more slot.

Spain's media companies complained about the closure of nine FTA networks in May 2014. Back then, Atresmedia saw three channels close, and Mediaset two - both groups are now among the favourites to win at least one of the licences.