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Hungary calls tender for digital TV, radio frequencies

Hungary’s National Telecommunications Authority (NHH) on Tuesday published a tender for twelve-year concessions of five digital television frequencies and one digital radio terrestrial broadcasting frequency.

National Telecommunications Authority expects to announce the results of the tender in the summer of 2008, allowing digital broadcasting to start by year-end, NHH head Dániel Pataki said at a press conference. He added that, depending on the type of compression the winning bidders decided to use, each frequency band could be used to broadcast 5-10 television channels or 8-10 radio stations at once. The NHH hopes the introduction of digital broadcasting in Hungary will boost competition on the market. The authority expects the 20-25% of Hungarians who only have access to analogue broadcasts to take advantage of the service. The conditions of the tender, spelled out in a law approved last year, require two of the television band winners as well as the radio band winner to start broadcasts by the end of 2008. A third TV frequency winner will be allowed to start mobile TV broadcasts too.

An EU directive requires Hungary to replace analogue television broadcasts with digital ones by the end of 2011 at the latest. The target date for introducing universal digital radio service is 2014. The tender documentation may be purchased for Ft 1 million. The deadline for bidding is April 24, 2008. Analogue television broadcasters with more than 300,000 subscribers are excluded from the bid. Radio broadcasters with national coverage are also excluded, with the exception of Hungary’s national public radio broadcaster. (MTI-Econews)