European Union state aid, public subsidies and analogue switch-off/digital switchover

Wheeler, Mark (2012) European Union state aid, public subsidies and analogue switch-off/digital switchover. International Journal of Digital Television, 3 (1). pp. 7-22. ISSN 2040-4182


This article considers the European Union’s (EU) role in the media and communications field concerning analogue switch-off/digital switchover. It focuses on the EU Competition Directorate’s approach concerning the application of the State Aid mechanism with regard to those Member States who have used public subsidies for digital switchover. Therefore, this analysis considers how the Directorate has sought to balance its market-driven set of rules with the need to be adaptable to the Member States’ specific requirements. In turn, this account will discuss how the demand to achieve the 2012 completion deadline, alongside the requirement to release analogue spectrum to realize a digital dividend, impacted upon the EU’s principles of competition. Finally, this analysis will reflect on how the employment of State Aid in relation to digital switchover relates to a wider debate concerning the EU’s neo-liberal agendas against Member States’ interests to promote their national cultures.

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