Hungary OK’s digital legislation

Up to nine slots will likely be up for grabs

BUDAPEST — Hungary’s parliament approved digital broadcast legislation that could see the country making the transition from analog to a digital environment of five-to-10 channels per licensed broadcaster as early as 2010.

The National Radio and Television Commission (ORTT) just announced it is moving immediately on the new law by devising a digital broadcast strategy expected to be ready by late July.

The National Communications Authority (NHH) will reportedly hold a competition for bids for “multiplex” digital platforms in October.

Specifics on the bid application have not yet been disclosed.

But preference for the first round of slots in the digital broadcast scheme is expected to be given to Hungary’s existing broadcasters: state broadcast channels M1, M2, Duna TV; commer-cial terrestrial broadcaster RTL Klub and TV2, and prominent cable nets ATV and conservative news network HirTV.

As many as nine slots will likely be up for grabs in the initial round. Seven or eight will go to existing broadcasters. The NHH and ORTT expect heated competition from outside bidders for the remaining slots.

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