Italy approves new National Frequency Allocation Plan
June 28, 2018
From Branislav Pekic in Rome
Italy’s Communications Authority (AgCom) has approved the new National Frequency Allocation Plan (PNAF 2018).
The Plan provides for 15 new digital terrestrial networks in DVB-T2 technology, divided as follows: 10 national networks in the UHF band, four local networks in the UHF band and a regional network in the III VHF band, which will broadcast local TV and public service programmes containing information at regional level.
The approval of the plan is part of the process introduced in the Budget Law which, in the 2018-2022 period, will lead to reassigning the frequencies of the 700 MHz band, currently in use for the broadcasting service, to 5G mobile broadband services.
However, the regulator noted some “critical issues regarding the implementation of the Budget Law”, on which “a report has been sent to the Government”.
AgCom Commissioner Antonio Nicita told the Radiocor news agency that the “critical issues” regard the reservation of a third of the frequency spectrum to local broadcasters, “a regulatory constraint that is not the result of an analysis of real needs and that could therefore invalidate the efficient allocation of the spectrum in the new context of refarming”.
Italy plans to hold an auction for the 700 MHz band in September and expects to earn at least €2.5 billion by 2022.
However, Mediaset and the Cairo group (owner of national broadcaster La7) have resorted to legal action before the courts to defend their TV frequencies that should be assigned on the 5G auction.