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Italy Commits to Auction on Assigning Digital-TV Frequencies

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government has committed to holding an auction for six digital-television frequencies after supporting requests presented by opposition lawmakers.

Piero Giarda, minister for parliamentary affairs, told the lower house of Parliament late yesterday that the government favored separate motions submitted by the Northern League and Italian Values parties. Both motions require the government to withdraw current plans to assign the frequencies to Italy’s main broadcasters and auction them instead.

Both Telecom Italia SpA Chief Executive Officer Franco Bernabe and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who controls broadcaster Mediaset SpA, have said that no one would bid for the frequencies should the government auction them. Telecom controls La7, a national broadcaster.

The government must pass a decree to hold the sale.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at ltotaro@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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