The European Commission has found that a Spanish scheme compensating terrestrial private broadcasters for carrying out parallel broadcasting during the digitalisation of the terrestrial television signal is in breach of EU state aid rules.

The Commissioner in charge of Competition Policy, Margrethe Vestager, said that “This measure provided a selective advantage to terrestrial broadcasters and platform operators over other available technologies. This goes against the principle of technological neutrality and does not appear necessary or proportionate.”

Spain has already completed the digital frequency switch and no aid had been granted yet, so no recovery will be required.

The Commission's investigation confirmed that Spain's support for the transition from analogue to digital TV broadcasting was offered only to digital terrestrial (DTT) broadcasters to the detriment of alternative platforms, such as satellite, cable or IPTV (TV over Internet Protocol).

Any exception to this principle would have to be duly justified, and in this case, Spain did not substantiate why the principle of technological neutrality would not be justified.