Spain and Italy provide DTT subsidies to accelerate the release of 5G spectrum
July 31, 2019
The Spanish government approved in June 2019 a package of €150 million in state-aid to facilitate digital terrestrial television (DTT) migration for the second time in the country. The money will go to local communities to finance the retuning of TV antennas as DTT broadcasters will relinquish frequencies in the 694-790 MHz UHF band for 5G services. Spaniards must retune their antennas, as all DTT channels must move to frequencies below 694 MHz by June 2020. The spectrum between 694 and 790 MHz, the so-called 700 MHz, will be auctioned to mobile broadband operators, by the end of 2020 to facilitate the launch of 5G services in Spain.
Meanwhile, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development has issued a list of guidelines for the provision of subsidies to buy TV sets and DTT set-top boxes compatible with the DVB-T2 HEVC standard. The pay-out of €151 million in subsidies commence in November 2019. The guidelines propose that Italian residents on social benefits receive a refund or rebate of €50 per household, for the purchase of a single device by December 31st, 2022 or until the allocated resources are exhausted. The aid will be granted on the principle of technological neutrality. The Italian government has committed to ceasing all DVB-T DTT transmissions and switching to DVB-T2 by June 2022.
The European Commission has decided that the state-aid schemes of Spain and Italy are in line with EU state-aid rules and subsequently granted its approval.