Decision on the specification of retransmitters and dates of termination of analogue terrestrial transmissions of the pilot phase, within the scope of the detailed plan for the termination of analogue terrestrial transmissions
Within the ambit of the transition to the terrestrial digital television broadcasting system and subsequent termination of the television transmissions of the analogue terrestrial system, which is scheduled for no later than 26 April 2012, according to the provisions of the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 26/2009, published on 17 March (RCM), ICP-ANACOM gave approval, by determination of 24 June 2010 and in fulfilment of no. 2 of the said RCM, to the final decision on the detailed plan for termination of analogue terrestrial transmissions of each transmitting or retransmitting station – hereinafter referred to as Switch-Off Plan (SOP).
The SOP aims to terminate analogue terrestrial transmissions in three phases, scheduled as follows:
1st phase - 12 January 2012, for transmitters and retransmitters providing coverage of the coastal area of the mainland territory;
2nd phase - 22 March 2012, for transmitters and retransmitters providing coverage of the Autonomous Regions of Azores and Madeira;
3rd phase - 26 April 2012, for transmitters and retransmitters providing coverage for the remaining mainland territory.
The SOP also aims, prior to the three phases detailed above, to terminate analogue transmissions of certain specific retransmitters in pilot zones to be determined, according to the conditions of eligibility publicised, at a later date.
To this end, retransmitters fulfilling the following conditions are deemed eligible for this pilot phase: (i) cessation of analogue transmissions is easy to carry out in operational terms; (ii) cessation of analogue broadcasting takes place in well-defined areas with terrain which significantly impedes, following the shutdown of the transmitter in question, reception of TV transmissions from alternative analogue stations still in operation; (iii) that the population covered 1, with respect to each of the retransmitters identified, does not exceed 150,000 inhabitants; and (iv) that on the switch-off date of the analogue retransmitter, the population has been served for at least one year by digital terrestrial television broadcasting (simulcast).
This Authority takes the view that a pilot phase in confined zones, where there is greater ability to control any adverse conditions, will help to refine the preparation procedures for the termination of analogue terrestrial transmissions throughout the territory, thereby minimising the risks associated with such an operation. The public interest in ensuring a harmonious transition justifies such a procedure.
The SOP also establishes that the operator authorised to provide the digital terrestrial television broadcasting service and the television operators responsible for the organisation of unrestricted free-to-air television programme services will be fully involved in defining the sets of retransmitters involved in the pilots and the respective dates of the switch-off, whose details shall be the subject of a specific determination in the context of and subsequent to the approval of the SOP.
Having identified the criteria of eligibility, it was necessary to identify the specific retransmitters of the pilot zones, as well as the respective dates of termination of analogue terrestrial transmissions, thus enabling their publication no less than three months prior to the switch-off date, pursuant to no. 3 of the RCM.
In this context, the board of directors of ICP-ANACOM, in pursuance of the aims of regulating electronic communications as laid out, namely, in paragraph no. 1, subsection a) and no. 2, subsection d), both of article 5 of the Electronic Communications Law (ECL – Law no. 5/2004, of 10 February), within the scope of the powers that are attributed to it by subsection c) of no. 1 of article 6 of the Statutes in the annex to Decree-Law no. 309/2001, of 7 December, in exercising the powers laid down in article 15 of the ECL, as well as in compliance with the provisions of nos. 2 and 4 of the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 26/2009, published on 17 March, gave approval, on 30 July 2010, to the draft decision regarding the identification of retransmitters and respective dates of termination of analogue terrestrial transmissions in the pilot phase, within the scope of the Plan.
The draft decision was submitted to the prior hearing of interested parties, pursuant to articles 100 and 101 of the Code of Administrative Procedures, with PT Comunicações, S.A., Rádio Televisão de Portugal, S.A., SIC, Sociedade Independente de Comunicação, S.A. and TVI, Televisão Independente, S.A. having been granted a 10 working-day deadline, according to the deliberation of 30 July 2010, to provide their views in writing regarding the retransmitters and dates of termination of analogue transmissions.
The said project was also notified to the ERC, in accordance with the provisions of no. 12 of the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 26/2009, of 17 March, as well as with article 8 of the Statutes of ICP-Anacom, to comment, if it so wished, on the contents of the same.
These consultation procedures were undertaken and the respective report published, which is an integral part of the present deliberation and in which the alteration of the dates initially established in the draft decision for termination of transmissions of the three relays is justified.
In this way, termination of the analogue terrestrial television transmissions in the pilot phase shall occur in the following relays and on the following dates, provided they satisfy the required conditions:
- Alenquer retransmitter - 12 May 2011;
- Cacém retransmitter - 16 June 2011;
- Nazaré retransmitter - 13 October 2011.
It should be noted that in these pilot zones the local government institutions, as well as other relevant local authorities, will be involved in the preparation process for the operation and the target population will be addressed in due time via specific information campaigns for this purpose.
1 Estimates based on data from INE (Statistics Portugal) (2001 Census).
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