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After 4th July: Italy is now digital

15 JUly 2012 Italian Ministry of Economic Development published some statistic datas according to the completed process of switch over to the digital terrestrial transmissions. This process was officially completed last 4th July with the last analogical high frequencies plant switched off in Palermo, Sicily.

The whole national territory is now digital and this new technology involves 10 national networks, over 550 local minor tv networks, for an amount of over 24,200 transmission plants.

The figures involved per each technical area are such: 2008: Sardegna 1,665,000 inhabitants; 820 plants. 2009: Valle d'Aosta, Trentino Alto Adige, West Piemonte, Lazio and Campania 15 million inhabitants; 6131 plants. 2010: East Piemonte, Lombardia, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Emilia Romagna 22 million inhabitants; 6906 plants. 2011: Liguria, Toscana, Umbria, Marche andViterbo province 9 million inhabitants; 6131 plants. 2012: Abruzzo, Molise, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicilia 13.5 million inhabitants; 5222 plants.

Italian Communication Minister Corrado Passera declared: "It is an important proof of innovation, which saw a strategic compartment for industrial and cultural development of our Country accept a challenge (...), overcoming difficulties and reaching a great result even started by previous governments operations and completed today. Thanks to tight cooperation among the Government, Agcom, local institutions, national and local stations, industry and consumers associations, these years have seen completed a technological and structural revolution which led in the Italians' houses, services and contents at the same time augmenting plurality. (...)”

According to Television broadcasters associations and especially the local ones the “match” begins only now. Still many are the issues to face to create the “minimum conditions” -which at the moment still are far away- for this market balanced development.

Institutional task are far from finished and politics still has to offer solid replies to the many question still open limiting a real development of the whole system.

Many in Italy are convinced that the optimum opportunity of digital terrestrial television has not contributed at all to solve the 20 years market stall of television compartment and most of all did not allow local televisions stations to gather greater editorial opportunities to occupy a bigger market share than the small usual.

The DVB-T switch over has been a long and engaging process, complex both from technical and economical and organizational points of view, not to mention the laws and normative sides. Unfortunately for several local tv networks the process is far from concluded, still many questions are out there and the future could be but bright.

The LCN situation, actually, is still open and these tv operators still await to see the decisions of the governmental justice: the risk is the present LCN deliberation bring back again caos among national and regional or local tv stations.

In the areas digitalized by 31/12/2010 still is to be concluded the procedure for the release of channels in frequency band 800 Mhz. This could lead to a compulsory revision of the frequencies already allowed to each tv network. Local tv stations in this direction could face again further difficulties bot economical and technical.

Four last years of average negative income for local and regional tv transmitting stations in Italy: negative trend especially for those companies which funnily but sadly are more complete and structured with good editorial staff and organized with better technical equipments.

These tv editor have faced along the way huge financial costs to update technical plants and digital networks and transmitters so facing a collapsing income from advertising: this sounds cruel, because the audience is generally increased but the economic crisis has fostered and enhanced the general negative trend of the markets.

All tv operators an professional broadcasters associations in Italy feel the urgent need to try and exit

this tunnel, asking governmental institutions to seriously face the problem opening up an exchange round table in order to get to the right solutions through the contribution of all subjects who are directly faced by these problems.

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