Antitrust: Commission takes Bulgaria to Court over assignment of digital terrestrial broadcasting authorisations

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The European Commission has decided to refer Bulgaria to the EU’s Court of Justice over the assignment of digital broadcast spectrum. The Commission found that the procedure followed by Bulgaria was based on disproportionately restrictive award conditions, leading to the exclusion of potential candidates. This hampers competition in the future Bulgarian digital terrestrial television (DTT) infrastructure market, in breach of the applicable EU Directives on electronic communications.

The efficient reallocation of radiospectrum as a result of the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting (the ‘digital dividend’) is part of the EU’s policy objectives under the Digital Agenda. In order to ensure that this process leads to the entry of new players capable of enhancing competition in the market and expanding viewer choice, the Commission has adopted a set of rules for the allocation of this extra spectrum capacity (the “competition”, “authorisation” and “framework” Directives, see background). These rules require that spectrum is allocated under open, transparent, objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate criteria. Here to read more.

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