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Controversy over analogue TV switch-off in Algarve

Monchique and Alcoutim Mayors have expressed their concerns over the introduction of digital terrestrial television (DTT) in their areas as they say some parts will not be covered.

In Monchique, 60% of households are likely to not be covered by DTT (or TDT – Televisão Digital Terrestre in Portuguese) while in Alcoutim 80% will not get a signal.

The analogue TV switch-off in these councils – on January 23 in Monchique and on April 26 in Alcoutim – could mean several residents will be without television unless they pay to have a satellite dish installed in their properties on top of a DTT decoder, totalling more than €100.

Alcoutim Mayor Francisco Amaral says it should be the responsibility of communications company PT and national communications authority Anacom to pay for the extra expenses the population will have to incur as it was them who “came up” with the idea to implement DTT in Portugal.

He said: “I know €100 is a small amount for an administrator of PT or Anacom but for the elderly on a low income it is a lot of money.

“I have expressed my discontent to Anacom and will now be taking the matter to the President of Portugal. We refuse to be treated like second class citizens.”

The Mayor added that the move will result in the local elderly who are unable to afford the change-over to DTT being “even more isolated from the outside world”.

Meanwhile, Monchique Mayor Rui André has proposed to the communications authority that the transition to DTT is postponed until the third phase (April 26) to allow the population in the council to prepare for the change-over.

Rui André says that for many families and the elderly in Monchique the favoured form of entertainment is watching television but many cannot afford to pay for a satellite dish and DTT decoder, “particularly at times of crisis”.

Both Alcoutim and Monchique have some of the lowest income rates per capita in the country.

Also read last week’s edition of the Algarve Resident where we published full details of Portugal’s switch-over to digital terrestrial television.