EU's Almunia: No Precise Date For Sky Italia Decision
- PARMA, Italy -(Dow Jones)- The European Commission has set no date for a decision on whether to let News Corp.'s (NWS) Sky Italia offer pay television services on Italy's digital television platform, Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Friday. "With the market test contributions [already concluded], we are now considering how to prepare our decision," Almunia said on the sidelines of a business conference in Parma. "We haven't yet adopted a decision. We don't have a precise date." EU restrictions for Sky Italia were agreed in 2003 when the satellite broadcaster started operating and was the only participant in the pay TV market. Since then, rival Mediaset SpA (MS.MI) has launched its own pay-TV operations, which are aimed at the lower end of the market. Sky Italia has asked the EU to lift the restriction. The EU is expected to decide around mid-April on the ban after conducting a market test with Italian operators and the regulator. News Corp. owns Dow Jones & Co., publisher of this newswire. Mediaset--which is controlled by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi--and state broadcaster RAI are opposing a possible green light from the EU that would allow Sky Italia to bid for Italy's upcoming sale of five digital terrestrial television frequencies. They say the Italian pay-TV market isn't sufficiently open to competition. The Italian government shares the view that Sky Italia should stick to its commitments not to offer a digital pay TV service until 2012, Deputy Minister of Communications Paolo Romani said Thursday. -By Jennifer Clark, Dow Jones Newswires; +39 335 833 5761; email@example.com Click here to go to Dow Jones NewsPlus, a web front page of today's most important business and market news, analysis and commentary: http://www.djnewsplus.com/access/al?rnd=UPb%2F9fYALVDwVX7DjlbsHg%3D%3D. You can use this link on the day this article is published and the following day.