Astra starts contesting DTT licences

Satellite operator Astra Spain has contested a call for the extension of DTT coverage in the Spanish region of Castilla y León, in the north of the country, alleging the move is anti-competitive.

Astra claims the money the central government will allocate to this autonomous region for the DTT extension “breaks the principle of technological neutrality so favouring terrestrial digital signal distribution against satellite digital signal distribution.” Astra added: “this official decision prevents free competitiviness in the satellite telecommunications field.”

A public call establishes and requires the winner will offer solutions for both DTT distribution services and also satellite technology.

But Astra thinks the only possible winner from this decision is terrestrial telecommunications distributor Abertis Telecom. After having bought out Axión and Teledifusión Madrid, Abertis is the only DTT services provider in Spain and also has a controlling stake in Spanish satellite operator Hispasat.

Astra Spain considers the de facto monopoly existing in the DTT distribution market cannot be implemented in the region in the satellite market as competitiviness would be erased. SES Astra is currently the market leader.

Repecting a liberalized telecommunication market would demand the winning company of the DTT distribution signals would have to allocate services either on terrestrial, satellite or other technology. That, says Astra, would therefore respect technological neutrality.