Sky Italia Withdraws Bid for DTT Slot


MILAN: Sky Italia has withdrawn its application to compete for a digital terrestrial frequency in Italy, saying that the so-called "beauty contest" is too slow and is making investment planning too difficult.

Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development initiated a competition for the six frequencies after getting authorization from the European Commission in July 2010. A reported ten companies were vying for the frequencies, including Sky Italia and Mediaset. The frequencies are assigned for free, based on criteria set by the Italian telecommunications regulator Agcom and the ministry.

Sky Italia has now taken itself out of the running, issuing a statement that said "the excessive duration of the tender process—the conclusion of which is still uncertain—will unavoidably affect its outcome and has become entirely incompatible with the need for predictable planning of the investments required in the event of an assignment of frequencies." 

The statement said that in addition to the uncertain timing, the tender process is further complicated by "controversial elements, connected to the implementation of a regulation whose rules clearly favor operators already operating on the market."   

Andrea Zappia, the CEO of Sky Italia, stated: “We hope that our decision, as difficult and weighty as it might be, provides the impetus for an open and constructive debate on the future of television in Italy. A future that in Italy, as in other countries, sees the emergence of new business models based on technologies besides DTT—just consider the success of certain operators in other countries in offering their programs over DSL or fibre. We are convinced that the objective in the coming months will be, and should be, creating the conditions to make television a driver of the digital economy and—in order to generate more employment and development—to unleash the remarkable creative potential that is part of Italy’s DNA. In this sense, I believe that the beauty contest should have been an important opportunity, but we missed it due to the structure of the process."

Zappia continued, "This decision is consistent with Sky’s business decisions and with its investment policy in Italy, centered on innovation and new technologies. It doesn’t change our intention to continue investing in our country and to contribute to its economic growth, on the contrary, it reaffirms and strengthen this commitment."