From David Del Valle in Madrid -
The European Commission has launched an investigation into the Spanish DTT migration plan over a possible violation of the technology neutrality principle by “favouring certain technologies to the detriment of others”.
State subsidies to finance DTT migration are at the centre of the controversy. The EC will investigate the DTT migration plan to determine whether the DTT networks have been given a preferential treatment over other distribution platforms breaking the European legislation on the distribution of public funds.
The EC will specifically investigate the DTT migration process in the Spanish Region of Castilla-La Mancha, in the centre of Spain, over charges of discrimination concerning Regional and Local operators.
“We have to make sure that any public initiative respects the European legislation concerning state aids and does not discriminate any (distribution) platform”, said the EC anti-trust Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia.
The DTT migration plan was implemented in April when Spain switched-off analogue transmissions. After a preliminary investigation, Brussels believes that the plan could break the principle of technology neutrality which requires the same treatment for all distribution platforms, regardless of the technology used.
Brussels argues that the Spanish DTT migration plan only includes public funds to finance and extend the existent terrestrial network but it does not contain any financial aid for satellite platforms, also available and used to cover the whole territory.
In Castilla-La Mancha, the EC argues that the state subsidies are only limited to platform operators that distribute nationwide TV channels. This may be a discrimination against local platforms that distribute Local and Regional TV stations.
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