Abertis Telecom denies government favour

Spain's main signal distributor telco Abertis Telecom has written to the Competition General Division of the European Union and also to Spain's Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce to defend its transition model to digital TV.

The telco is seeking to answer criticism from SES Astra to the European Commission that Spainís government gives favourable treatment to Abertis (Hispasat's main shareholder) over plans to use satellite to extend DTT distribution to geographically complicated areas. Digital-terrestrial TV will only reach 96% of the population in the case of the private broadcasters and the 98% of the population in the case of the public ones.

SES Astra has contested several decisions made by some autonomous region governments who gave Hispasat the contract to distribute the DTT satellite signals in their territory.

Astra's argument says this decisions go against the technological neutrality principle it considers the government should take.

But Abertis Telecom has retorted, saying the DTT deployment is a consequence of the technological evolution of the analogue-terrestrial TV and that this is carried out by means of technologies and public terrestrial bids and that DTT has been pushed in Europe under a common and shared standard.

Finally Abertis Telecom reminds Astra it is investing more than Ä400 million in DTT deployment without public funds. Abertis also denies that the autonomous regionsí public tenders for the DTT extension close the door to its competitors because several bids have been presented in some cases.