The Italian government’s special commission (AgCom) has shortlisted eight would-be broadcasting companies for the nation’s auction of six new digital terrestrial TV frequencies following the country’s absolute switch-off of analogue TV broadcasting. Initially, 10 firms submitted bids.
Five of the new bundles are for DVB-T broadcasting, while one is for DVB-H.
The finalists, together with their desired frequency bundles, are: Canale Italia (A2, A3), Telecom Italia (B1, B2, C1), Elettronica Industriale/Mediaset (B1, B2), Sky Italia (A2), Prima TV (A2, A3), Europa Way (A1), 3Elettronica Industriale/3Italia (A2), RAI (B1, B2).
Summary of bids:
A1 Europa Way
A2 Canale Italia, 3Elettronica, Sky Italia, Prima TV
A3 Canale Italia, Prima TV
B1 Telecom Italia, Elettronica Industriale/Mediaset, RAI
B2 Telecom Italia, Elettronica Industriale/Mediaset, RAI
C1 Telecom Italia
Currently, more than 20 million Italian households are viewing on DTT equipment (as at May 2011) up 945,000 since January 2011, and now stands at some 84.7 per cent of the population.
The new licences permit existing terrestrial broadcasters to apply for a maximum of two new bundles, which means RAI, Mediaset and Telecom Italia can each apply for two multiplexes. Sky Italia can only bid for one multiplex and it cannot be for pay-TV services.
Italy’s Liguria region is currently switching off analogue transmitters, and the exercise will be completed by November 4th. The task is huge, as there are 170 main towers and almost 3,000 repeaters. Tuscany is next in line, and will have completely converted by November 22nd. Umbria is next, and is scheduled to have wrapped its conversion by November 30th followed by Venice and the Venito by year-end. There’s still plenty to do with Abruzzo, Puglia and Sicily scheduled for conversion during 2012, which will conclude the Italian analogue switch off.