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Rai frequency handed to Europa 7

Channel will launch after 10-year wait

MILAN — After nearly 10 years of waiting, it looks like Italo TV company Europa 7 has finally got a frequency slot in which to broadcast.

But the frequencies will be donated by pubcaster Rai, not Mediaset, Italy’s minister for economic development, Paolo Romani, said on Wednesday.

For years Europa 7 has insisted it should to be given frequency space by Mediaset. But despite court rulings in Europa 7’s favor, the broadcast group controlled by three-time and incumbent premier Silvio Berlusconi has refused to make space available to its fledgling rival by transferring its Rete4 channel to satellite broadcast.

As a result, Europa 7, which obtained rights for analogue television broadcasting in 1999, has never been on the air. And conflict of interest accusations were leveled at the Berlusconi administrations.

Europa 7 owner Francesco Di Stefano said on Wednesday: “After 10 years, the frequencies that we’ve been waiting for have been found. Now we’re waiting for them to be assigned to us in accordance with the European Court of Justice ruling, so we can check their quality and the cover they provide.”

According to Professor Antonio Sassano of the Italo broadcast watchdog Agcom, the proposed Canale 8 VHF band used by Rai Uno, would allow Europa 7 to broadcast to 70% of Italian households.