Spain: All spectrum for TV

Spain's Ministry of Industry has revealed telcos will not benefit from the extra radioelectric spectrum coming from the freeing up of spectrum from analogue television switch off.
Switch-off is due to be completed on April 3, 2010. Francisco Ros, Telecommunications General Secretary at the Ministry, said these frequencies would not be given to telco operators to be used for wireless telecommunications. All spectrum freed from TV digitalization will instead be claimed by broadcasters.

In the Spanish case, one problem with the move to digital broadcasting is the proliferation of TV channels not only on a national scale but specially on a regional and local basis. These small broadcasters have been given analogue licenses in the past and according to present legislation have the right to have enough frequencies to carry on broacasting in digital.

This proliferation is the consequence of the regional audiovisual model carried out by each autonomous region consisting of claiming one or in some cases two regional TV channels. Spectrum must also be shared among the new digital private channels which normally are keen on local authorities.

According to some sources there are more channels claiming acquired rights over future frequencies than spectrum available.

Because of this the European Commission has asked the Spanish government for an explanation. It wants to know why this lack of balance in the sharing of the new frequencies. The EC has asked Spain's government to liberate spectrum for the telcos but the government has said this won't be possible, at least in the short term.