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Dozens apply for Finn digital license

Finn b'caster YLE, MTV3 among contenders

AMSTERDAM — At least 27 companies have applied for licenses for the digital terrestrial platform being offered by the Finnish government.

Finnish public broadcaster YLE and commercial channels MTV3 and Channel 4 (Nelonen) have respectively applied for one four-channel multiplex each.

Other contenders for the licenses include Swedish channel launcher Modern Times Group, distribution and production company Saraxa Media and Canal Plus.

The government was originally set to award the licenses before the March 23 elections in Finland but the abrupt resignation of former minister of transport and communications Matti Aura and subsequent appointment of a new minister, Kimmo Sassi, has slowed the process.

A spokeswoman for the ministry said Minister Sassi was “attempting to make the decision on the license holders before the elections or at least in the transition period before the new government is expected to come to power.” She added, however, that there are no guarantees the ministry would be able to hold to the original time frame.

According to the original timetable set by the Finnish government, the digital terrestrial platform was to be launched before the summer Olympics in 2000.

While there were more license applications than expected, the spokeswoman said there were no last-minute “surprise contenders” throwing their hats into the ring.

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