Italy completes DTV transition but uncertainty remains

Italy completed its move to digital broadcasting on 4 July, with 10 networks, more than 500 local TV stations, and more than 24,000 transmission plants making the move. The last plant to make the move was located in Palermo, Sicily.

“It is an important proof of innovation…and overcoming difficulties to reach a great result [for a project] started by previous governments operations,” said Italian Communication Minister Corrado Passera. “Thanks to tight cooperation among the government, Agcom, local institutions, national and local stations, industry and consumers associations we have completed a technological and structural revolution.”

Despite the overall success, many broadcasters are far from finished, both technically and even politically. Many in Italy are convinced that the optimum opportunity of digital terrestrial television has not helped solve the stall of the TV market that is now entering its third decade. Nor did it allow local TV stations to increase market share.

The virtual channel situation is also still open as TV operators await government rulings. In fact, current deliberations could eventually bring back chaos to national, regional, and local TV stations.
And frequencies in the 800 MHz band used by stations that were digitised at the end of 2010 are still to be released. That, again, could lead to additional compulsory revisions of the frequencies used by each networks and more turmoil for local TV stations.

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