Italy will present plans for selling digital television frequencies by April 20th and will stick by its decision to drop the previous “beauty contest” formula according to industry minister Corrado Passera.
Plans by the government of former premier Silvio Berlusconi to assign the frequencies free of charge to operators were abandoned earlier this year by Prime Minister Mario Monti’s new administration. Passera said a decision on how the frequencies would be awarded would be taken “by April 20th. I do not think it would be a good thing to give the frequencies away for free”.
The drawn-out process for assigning frequencies laid down by the Berlusconi government drew heavy criticism for favouring big incumbent broadcasters including the former prime minister’s own Mediaset empire.
It was also attacked for overlooking potential revenue for Italy’s state treasury after an auction of fourth-generation mobile telephone frequencies last year raised almost €4 billion.