Italy’s Communications Authority (AgCom) has laid out new regulations for the digital TV frequency auction, introducing a limit of five digital multiplexes for the two dominant broadcasters.
A total of six multiplexes will be available: three U lots in the 700 MHz band (UHF channels 54, 55 and 58) for five years (after which they will be reassigned), plus three L lots for TV use only during a 20-year period.
RAI and Mediaset, which already own 4 digital multiplexes (DVB-H/DVB-T2 standard), will be able to ask for them to be converted to DVB-T – but can only complete for one of the U lots under the condition that they do not convert it from DVB-T to DVB-H.
New players or small broadcasters with one multiplex (such as Europa 7, ReteCapri, D-free) will be able to compete for all three L lots of multiplexes. Existing owners of two multiplexes (i.e. Rete A/L’Espresso) can apply for two out of three, while operators active on other platforms (such as Sky Italia) can compete for only one multiplex.
However there are still numerous uncertainties.
The position of Telecom Italia Media, which owns three multiplexes, is unclear. It is seeking a fourth multiplex and is currently owned by Telecom Italia, which is active on various platforms, including Cubovision.
Due to bureaucratic problems and procedural delays, the auction could again be postponed until February or March 2013.
In addition, Italian consumers association Adiconsum has warned of a serious risk of interferences between DTT and future LTE transmissions in the 800 MHz frequency band.