From Branislav Pekic in Rome
Italy could bring forward the final analogue switch-off to 2011, according to the Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Paolo Romani
Speaking during the Fifth Annual Digital Terrestrial Conference in Milan, Romani said that he will talk to the presidents of the Regions (Tuscany, Umbria, Sicily and Calabria), for which the ASO is due to take place in 2012, adding he expects to be able to bring ASO forward.
President of the DGTVi (The Association of Digital Broadcasters), Andrea Ambrogetti agreed that there is no plausible reason to wait two more years to complete. He said that at the end of this year 70 per cent of the Italian population will have definitely abandoned analogue, while digital terrestrial penetration will have reached close to 85 per cent. Ambrogetti proposed that the timetable must be “immediately revised”, so that all the remaining regions are scheduled for next year in order for the transition to be completed in early 2011.
Also in Milan, the vice-president of Mediaset, Pier Silvio Berlusconi, revealed that the broadcaster plans to launch an over-the-top TV (OTTV) decoder by Christmas that combines digital terrestrial and broadband functions. He added that Mediaset is currently working on an offer that is “completely independent” from telecommunications operators. In the meantime, the broadcaster plans to launch an HD box in July for the reception of its Premium On Demand service on digital terrestrial.
For his part, the director general of Telecom Italia Media, Marco Ghigliani, used the event to announce the launch of the MTV+ channel (dedicated to music and entertainment) and La7 on Demand (catch-up service) on DTT. The first will launch on May 17th, while the latter will be available by the end of May to those viewers equipped with a broadband connection.