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Italy seeks 700 MHz transition deferral

Italy has proposed a postponement of the deadline by when spectrum in the 700 MHz band will be made available for high speed mobile Internet services to 2022.

The decision was reached after a vote in both houses of the Italian Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, and is supported by the Italian Government.

This follows a proposal by the European Commission that TV channels in member countries should vacate the 694-790 MHz frequency band (UHF) by 2020.

In its proposal, the Italian Parliament suggests that the vacating of the frequencies should be linked to the adoption of the new DTT standard – DVB-T2 with HVEC codification – in order to avoid increased costs for both operators and users.

It also points out that, in view of the large number of first generation (DVB-T) receivers and TV sets in use in Italy, incentive actions will be necessary, duly authorised on the basis of EU legislation, to purchase of new reception equipment.

The Parliamentary proposal was based on comments by DTT multiplex operators and broadcasters in Italy, who are not eager to give up the 700 MHz band as they plan to simulcast for a certain period of time in both DVB-T and DVB-T2.

Under current Italian legislation, only DVB-T2/HEVC devices can be manufactured in Italy from 1 July 2016 and will be the only equipment on sale in Italian shops from 1 January 2017.

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