Italy speeds switchover

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

The Italian Government and the country's Communications Authority (AgCom) is aiming to bring forward the complete switchover from analogue to digital, which is currently planned for the end of 2012.

Announcing plans to present a plan for the complete national switchover by September 9, Italy's Undersecretary for Economic Development responsible for the Communications Sector, Paolo Romani, said there was the possibility of a prior date to 2012, as Italy risks being the last in Europe. The plan is to anticipate the deadline by two years, until the end of 2010.

His views were shared by the president of AgCom, Corrado Calabro’, who also sees 2012 as a “far off date”. Calabro’ is of the opinion that a detailed evaluation should be made when a large part of the Italian territory is digital-ready. He added that the model implemented in Sardinia, based on a frequency allocation agreement, is the right one for Italy as a whole.

Sardinia is due to completely switch-off analogue TV transmitters on October 31, followed by Val d'Aosta, the provinces of Torino and Cuneo, the regions of Trentino and Alto Adige, to which Rome could be added from this autumn.

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