Radio and Television frequencies in Spain are set for a shake up in 2010. The first of these changes shall take place in April when the Analogue signal is turned off around the country and only those with Digital systems, or receiving signal from a rebroadcaster or via Satellite, shall be able to view television on their old telly! From June 1st, the newly created La Agencia Estatal de Radiocomunicaciones has been tasked to identify and close down illegall TV and Radio broadcasters to free up the airwaves so that citizens can enjoy the benefits of digital television and its growing range of interactive services, such as video on demand. The goal is that these services should be available on multiple transmission platforms, including terrestrial, cable, satellite, mobile and Internet protocol (IP)-based television.

Thus, along with the Analogue signal being switched off, a coordinated approach to the freeing up and future use of the radio spectrum is also to be implemented, with the AERA being tasked to closing down upwards of 3,000 illegal radio stations from June 1st onwards.

Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media, said that “The digital dividend comes at a critical moment when we want to connect all parts of Europe to high-speed broadband, ensure high-quality broadcasting, and expand consumer choice in future wireless services,” She expanded her remarks saying that “Europe will only achieve all of this if it adopts a coordinated approach using radio spectrum in the most efficient way. Depending on the choices we make, the potential impact of the digital dividend can be increased by billions of euros.”

In the Valencian Region, almost 400 Spanish radio stations have been identified as illegally broadcasting. It seems that even though many of these stations have tried to legalize themselves, they still face closure by local authorities, with seizure and confiscation of equipment, plus a heavy fine, being a reality that that station owners may have to face up to! The Valencian Government are backing the new switch off plan and are busy mapping out where and when action shall first take place.

At present, the new authority does not have a headquarters but a number of cities have applied to be the commission’s new site, including Valencia, Sevilla and Vigo. An announcement is expected on February 16th from Government Minister Miguel Sebastián as to where the commission shall be established.