Sogecable will defy feds

Service to launch next month

MADRID — Spanish conglom Sogecable is standing firm by its decision to launch its 26-channel Canal-Satelite Digital (CSD) on Thursday despite further attempts by the Spanish government to block the bow.

The Spanish government sparked political bedlam Friday by ruling that the Sogecable platform must use open-access decoders and will need a license to launch, which could push back its digital bow to June

Now the Spanish government is claiming the right to decide digital subscription rates, and is threatening to sanction any digital operator — in a clear reference to Sogecable — selling decoders without its prior approval.

All these rulings could be rushed on to the statute book by this weekend. But Sogecable will have already left the gates. “We’ll launch. Our SECA decoders, as used by Canal Plus in France, are compatible with other digital operators,” according to European Union guidelines, Ele Juarez, director general of Sogecable told Daily Variety. “The question is: do we live in Europe or a banana republic?”

Meanwhile, HBO sources rebutted claims by newspaper El Mundo, a member of Spain’s second digital alliance, led by telco Telefonica, that this would “in all probability” carry a Spanish HBO channel. “It’s a rumor. We have nothing imminent in Spain,” an HBO spokesman told Daily Variety.

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