Spain's first switchover put off

Iñaki Ferreras

Spain’s autonomous northern region of Galicia has officially decided to delay its regional digital switch-over and now a total of 14 projects among the whole 32 will go the same way. The 14 projects concerned do not fulfill the conditions established for analogue switch-off.

Although Spain's Ministry of Industry and the association for DTT implementation and promotion Impulsa TDT are very optimistic about DTT coverage, implementation and share the reality is mainly according to the telecommunication installers that there are still a lot of areas without digital coverage or others with a bad one.

Some regions are more advanced than others in reaching the same percentage of coverage in digital as in analogue, as well as the levels of household access. But the delays won't affect the national switch over taking place on April 3, 2010 according to the Ministry of Industry.

UTECA, the association gathering the national private broadcasters, criticized the government decision because it will have economic consequences for the national broadcasters. The association also assured the switchover delays will generate a double expense of transport and broadcasting of analogue and digital signals which were not included in the initial business plans of the broadcasters.

But the Ministry argues it is merely fulfilling the law. "If the conditions are not fulfilled the cessation of analogue broadcasting can't take place," the Ministry of Industry concluded.

A series of agreements with the autonomous regions have been signed in order to transfer them public money for coverage issues.