Ljubljana, 12 October (STA) - A call for bids to build a second commercial digital terrestrial broadcasting (DVB-T) network in Slovenia was published by the Agency for Post and Telecommunications on Friday.
Bids for multiplex C will be accepted by 2 PM on 30 November. The public opening of the bids will be held on 3 December at noon at the agency's headquarters, according to the notice in the Official Gazette.
The bids for radio frequencies for an extra DVB-T network will be assessed based on the length of time it will take to build the network and the price of services.
Like the existing A and B multiplexes, the new one will cover the whole Slovenian territory, divided into three geographic areas - east, centre and west.
Slovenia switched from analogue to digital broadcasting in December 2010. The first public DVB-T network (multiplex A) was built and is operated by the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija.
The RTV Slovenija network also hosts several commercial and regional programmes, although these were supposed to move to the commercial multiplex B, which was set up by Norway's Norkring in 2010.
But Norkring decided to discontinue the network in February this year having failed to attract enough commercial programmes, and after the only remaining commercial channel hosted by it, TV3, was slated for closure by its Swedish owner.
The government reacted by proposing legislative changes banning RTV Slovenija from broadcasting commercial programmes on the public DVB-T network. The changes were passed by parliament in June.
But as long as its multiplex remains the only operating network covering the whole country RTV Slovenija can continue to provide transmission of commercial programmes on available capacities.
The public broadcaster is also allowed to bid for an extra multiplex.
Aside from RTV Slovenija, which a while ago expressed its interest in an extra multiplex for the transmission of HD programmes, the call will probably also be of interest for Telekom Slovenije.
It subsidiary Tsmedia will in November complete the launch of a new commercial TV station Planet TV, which cannot broadcast through a DVB-T network because the multiplex A is busy and multiplex B is not operational.