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Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development has defined the regulations for the awarding of DVB-T frequencies that will make up three new national DTT multiplexes.
The licences will be awarded for 20 years and the rights of use cannot be transferred for the first three years. Three lots of frequencies will be allocated: Lot 1 with the use of channels 6 and 23 and a nominal population coverage of 89.5 per cent; Lot 2 with the use of the channels 7 and 11 and 91.1 per cent coverage; Lot 3 with the use of channels 25 and 59 and 96.6 per cent coverage.
Only new entrants or small operators (i.e. those holding only one multiplex) can compete for all three lots (L1, L2, L3); owners of two DVB-T multiplexes can apply for two lots (L1 and L3); while integrated operators, active on other platforms with more than 50 per cent share of the pay-TV market (i.e. Sky Italia) can only compete for Lot 1.
Excluded from participation are operators who hold three or more DTT multiplexes – i.e. RAI, Mediaset and Telecom Italia Broadcasting.
The starting prices amount to €29.3 million, €29.8 million and €31.6 million, respectively, for the three lots. The auction winners are required to achieve 51 per cent coverage within five years, in a phased manner.
The tender announcement will be published in the Official Gazette of 12 February 2014 and bids may be submitted within 60 days of publication.
Italy’s Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Antonio Catricalà, said he expects that the frequency auction should be completed by the summer. He also announced that a merger of the DTT multiplexes of Telecom Italia Media Broadcasting and L’Espresso (Rete A) is “imminent”, creating a network operator with five DTT multiplexes.