Sky Italia considers TV frequencies auction

Sky Italia, the Italian satellite TV unit of News Corp, is considering taking part in an upcoming auction of television frequencies according to its chief executive.

“It’s still early to say,” Andrea Zappia told Italy’s Il Sole 24 Ore. “We will decide … only when all the details are known.”

The Rome government said this week a competitive auction of frequencies will be called within 120 days, reversing plans by the previous administration led by Silvio Berlusconi – the key shareholder in Italy’s biggest commercial broadcaster Mediaset – to give them away in a so-called beauty contest.

Zappia said he recognised the government of Mario Monti had taken an important step forward by “choosing a neutral approach”.

The previous process for assigning frequencies drew criticism for favouring incumbent broadcasters Mediaset and state-owned RAI.

Mediaset has refused to say whether it would take part in the auction, already billed by some market observers as unattractive.

Asked about an interest in buying Swisscom’s Italian broadband unit Fastweb, Zappia said “at this moment there are no talks in that regard”

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