EU investigates Spanish aid for broadcasters going digital

Freeing the digital dividend has more ramifications

The European Union's plans to free up radio spectrum for wireless broadband and other new technologies has raised sticky issues for television broadcasters in Spain.

On Wednesday the European Commission announced that it is opening an in-depth investigation into Spanish state aid to broadcasters aimed at maximizing the so-called "digital dividend."

Under the recently approved Radio Spectrum Policy Program (RSPP), radio spectrum frequencies must be reallocated in order to achieve an integrated, single E.U. market for digital technology. According to the RSPP, the 800MHz band, currently used for analog TV, should be made available for wireless broadband services in all E.U. countries by January 2013. According to the Commission, this will help to accommodate "exponential growth in the use of wireless broadband services."

In Spain, broadcasters must transmit their services simultaneously on both frequencies for a transitional period of six to 24 months, to allow citizens to adapt their reception infrastructure. This triggers extra costs for the broadcasters concerned and the Spainish authorities plan to compensate broadcasters for the added expense.

However, the Commission has concerns that the measure may favor terrestrial broadcasters over other available technologies, such as satellite transmission, in breach of the principle of technological neutrality.

In a similar case in Germany in 2005, the European Court of Justice ruled that German state aid for the costs incurred by private broadcasters due to the switchover was illegal as the broadcasters had already agreed to the switchover before state aid was envisaged.

However the Commission is committed to releasing the 790MHz-862MHz band for services such as high-speed 4G wireless broadband, mobile TV and wireless electronic books, in the shortest possible time-frame, so the outcome of the investigation is difficult to predict.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?