Framework and associated consultations

/ Updated on 20.11.2007


The European Commission adopted a communication entitled ''accelerating the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting'' 1 in which it set out European policy objectives for this transition and proposed the beginning of 2012 as the deadline for the switch-off of analogue transmissions in all Member States.

The setting of a definitive timetable for the switch-off of analogue broadcasting in Europe, requires that in Portugal conditions are put in place that previously make alternatives for access to television services available to the general national population. It also requires that the universe of users who currently access television services are given the means necessary to continue to have access to these services, especially in digital format, following the deactivation of the terrestrial analogue system.

The digital terrestrial platform is considered, in the first place, as being able to replicate in digital format the current analogue system offer, notwithstanding others of more value and other possible platforms.

In the current regulatory framework and by there being recourse to the radio spectrum, it is the responsibility of ANACOM to create conditions to enable the analogue-digital transition of the terrestrial platform by allocating rights to use frequencies, and so providing continuation to the offer on the part of the respective television operators of television programme services available today through terrestrial analogue with conditions for final users that are comparable to those presently enjoyed.

Associated consultations

In this context, by determination of 29 August 2007, ANACOM gave approval to the following:

  • Draft decision on the limitation of the number of rights to use frequencies reserved for digital terrestrial television broadcasting and the definition of the respective allocation procedure pursuant to article 31 of Law no 5/2004 of 10 February; and
  • Draft regulation and public tender for the allocation of a nationwide frequency usage right for the digital terrestrial television broadcasting service, with the association of Multiplexer A, pursuant to article 35, paragraph 5 of Law no 5/2004 of 10 February.

The two drafts are subject to the general consultation procedure pursuant to article 8 of Law no 5/2004 and the draft regulation shall be further submitted to the regulatory consultation procedure set out in article 11 of the Statutes of ICP-ANACOM, approved by Decree-Law no 309/2001 of 7 December.

At the same time, also in the context of the introduction of DTT in Portugal, the draft regulation of the public tender for the allocation of five rights to use frequencies reserved for the digital terrestrial television broadcasting services will be submitted to public evaluation. These five rights correspond to two with coverage of national territory (Multiplexers B and C) and three with partial coverage of mainland territory (Multiplexers D, E and F), together with the licensing of the distribution operator responsible for the activity of television which consists of the selection and putting together of programme services with restricted access or unrestricted access with a subscription charge to be made available to the public on Multiplexers B to F. This draft regulation was the object of a joint order of 27 August issued by the Minster of Public Works, Transport and Communications and the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, published in the Diário da República, 2nd series.

As part of the public consultation process on the introduction of DTT in Portugal, and without prejudice to the specific responsibilities of ICP-ANACOM in the process of licensing of the frequency usage rights associated with Multiplexer A, it is intended to compile expressions with basis as to the possible viable uses for taking advantage of the capability inherent in this Multiplexer A, with consideration to the technical possibilities and constraints, as well as the situation of the publicity market in the audiovisual sector.

In the occupation of Multiplexer A it is expected that, besides the capacity needed to support the four current nationwide general television programme services - RTP 1, RTP 2, SIC and TVI, in their present definition (SDTV), and with the possibility of the future incorporation of the 16:9 format and sound of the type Dolby Digital 5.1 or equivalent -, interactive services/EPG and the necessary signalling (PSI/SI), there is remaining capacity, which will depend, meanwhile, on the options of implementation and the parameterisation of the network to be installed, as well as the state of the development of compression techniques, in continuous improvement.

It is estimated however that in the mainland Portuguese territory such remaining capacity will be able, initially - and with attention to the current state of the technology -, to support, and even with less capacity, perhaps, interactive services, in alternative:

1. Up to three other SDTV television programme services, in similar conditions;

2. An HDTV television programme service.

In the Autonomous Regions, it is estimated that the remaining capacity will only be able to support up to two SDTV television programme services, in view of the broadcasting needs of RTP Açores or RTP Madeira, in accordance with the region concerned.

Timetable and Procedures

Therefore a term of 30 working days, ending on 15 October 2007, has been set for interested parties to comment in writing, by email to, on the draft decisions and regulations now being submitted to public assessment, as well as other connected issues. Responses should expressly identify the documents or issues in consultation that each comment refers to.

Once the consultation process is concluded, the responses received will be published on this website and on the site of the Gabinete de Meios para a Comunicação Social (GMCS) (Media Department). Therefore interested parties should clearly mark items considered as confidential.

1 Communication from the Commission COM(2005) 0204 final, of 24.5.2005


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