The combination of regional elections and the World Cup could delay the digital switchover process in Northern Italy. Lombardia and eastern Piemonte are scheduled to complete analogue switch off in the first half of the year with Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Liguria following in the second half.
According to the digital TV association DGTVi the combination of the March 28 elections and the World Cup, running between June 11 and July 11, make it difficult for ASO to run to schedule. In particular the close proximity of the areas around the Po Valley mean that switchover has to be closely co-ordinated in order to minimise any interference. Local stations are also concerned that with the election campaign underway the public will feel bombarded with official information. A final decision on the 2010 calendar is expected at a meeting of operators on January 21.
According to market data compiled by Makno and released by the DGTVi the number of households with a DTT receiver on their principal TV display stood at 13.8 million at the end of October, an increase of 300,000 on the previous month. When receivers connected to second sets are included the total number of households with DTT connectivity is 20.7 million, a rise of just 2.2 million in a month.
The final ASO of 2009 launched in September with the Val d’Aosta, followed by western Piedmont, Trentino Alto Adige, Lazio and Campania. The areas cover around 15.3 million inhabitants, some 30% of the Italian population.