Rome Tele Piu-1, which plans to be the first of Italy’s three pay-tv channels, expects to start broadcasting March 30 if it is awarded a license next month, said Tele Piu prexy Vittorio Cecchi Gori.

The terrestrially beamed Tele Piu-1 will offer 24-hour feature films and entertainment news.

The other two channels (Tele Piu-2 for sports and Tele Piu-3 for educational and scientific programs) are to go on the air in the fall and winter.

The Tele Piu channels can’t begin broadcasting until they receive licenses from the Ministry of Post & Telecommunications. The ministry is due to begin assigning licenses at the end of the month.

Although ministry sources are reluctant to discuss which broadcasters are the most likely candidates to receive licenses, industry insiders take it for granted that all three Tele Piu channels are among the frontrunners.

The three fledgling Tele Piu channels are owned by a group of 10 investors, including the Cecchi Goris and tv tycoon Silvio Berlusconi.

Would-be subscribers will pay $130 for a decoder and an additional $27 fee every two months.

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