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Spain approves second ‘digital dividend’
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Spain approves second ‘digital dividend’ - 27-August-2012, 17:20

Spain approves second ‘digital dividend’

Iñaki Ferreras | 27-08-2012

The Spanish government has approved the implementation of a second ‘digital dividend’ to give more capacity to proposed 4G telecoms while at same time changing the spectrum frequencies of broadcasters.

Following agreement between UTECA (private channels) and the Spanish government, Spain may use frequencies of 800 MHz band for telecommunications services as of January 1, 2014, thus advancing by a year the previous date set by the executive.

The move will see DTT signals that currently make use of the spectrum band, mostly taken by private television channels nationwide, relocated as well as some television channels or TVE in certain regions. All these signals must be shifted to other different frequencies. The government will make funding available to re-tune the antenna "communities of owners of a building or group of buildings subjected to horizontal property regime" or "owners of a common infrastructure for receiving digital television."

Thus, the 24 private channels may continue broadcasting without merged or eliminated, allowing operators to maintain their business strategy and the expected development of the audiovisual sector. Some government proposals suggest that the number of private channels will be halved, a move strongly opposed by national operators. However, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, Vice President, Minister of the Presidency and government spokesperson stressed that a "good climate (sic)" has been made in talks with operators, and they have shown willingness to government proposals.

This plan also aims to boost connected TV, allowing it to become an alternative interactive on demand TV channel. Commitments will also be established to enhance high definition, as used by five national channels (TVE-HD-on tests, Antena 3, Cuatro, Telecinco and La Sexta) and various television channels (Aragón TV, TV3-Catalunya- , Channel 9-Com. Valenciana-7RM-Murcia, Asturias-TPA-, Telemadrid, Canal Sur-Andalusia, Balearic Islands-IB3-TV Canaria and Castilla-La Mancha TV).

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