Spain's gov't denies favouring Hispasat

Spain's Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce has denied it favours any single company in the process to cover areas without possibility of digital-terrestrial coverage.

This exclusive declaration to Rapid TV News from internal sources comes at a time when private satellite operator SES Astra has reported the government from the autonomous region of Cantabria for breaking a contract signed last spring for Astra to distribute DTT channels on satellite for Cantabrian areas without terrestrial coverage.

Months after this signature the central government summoned representatives of all the country's autonomous regions to convince them the best satellite option is Hispasat because it would not charge them anything while Astra costs money to the autonomous governments.

SES Astra considers Spain's central government has put pressure on Cantabria to break the contract and to chose Hispasat instead. And in fact the central government has given money to the autonomous regions' governments for DTT extension in their respective territories.

The Ministry source said: "What we've just done is to give money to the autonomous regions so all their citizens now watching analogue television can watch it with digital technology, especially those living in the rural and remote areas. But it's the autonomous regions who give the licences to the operators not us.