Spain's analogue switch-off brought forward?
Iñaki Ferreras

Spain's national analogue switch off is set for April 3 2010 for the moment but now the government is studying the possibility of bringing it forward two months to February next year. But ensuring appropriate coverage will remain a condition for switch-off.

According to Francisco Ros, secretary of Telecommunications and the Information Society, "the indicators of our studies reveal the analogue switch off is on the right path with a DTT share of 44.1% - more than nine percentage points above analogue television," he said. Ros added that "the diverse operations we are taking are being executed very seriously and at the right time in good collaboration with the network operators and the broadcasters".

TV stations are obliged to reach 96% coverage in the case of the private ones and 98% in the case of the public ones before switch off. However in the case of the autonomous TV stations the coverage extension plans are allowing to give coverage of nearly 100% of the population.

Ros confirmed the government wants to bring forward the allocation of the new frequencies which are considered as very attractive by the mobile phone operators. They hope to be able to use them to offer the service of the new mobile telephony called LTE giving speeds for internet above 100 Mbps. According to the Secretary as soon as it is known the date when these frequencies could be allocated (frequencies that now are being occupied by some TV stations which by the way will have to replace their broadcasts to new frequencies) the licences will be ready to be allocated. It will take several years for them to be in use. These allocations would be given out during next year.