Romania launches auction of DVB-T2 multiplexes

Thursday, March 27th, 2014
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ANCOM Auctions Out DVB-T2 Multiplexes

The Romanian Regulatory Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications (ANCOM) launches the auction for digital television multiplexes, by publishing today the official announcement on the availability for sale of the Terms of Reference. Until 8 May 2014, all interested persons may apply for participation in the competitive selection procedure held by ANCOM for the five multiplexes available.

The Terms of Reference may be purchased starting today, 27 March 2014, at the ANCOM headquarters in Bucharest, on Delea Nouă Street no.2. The person mandated to take the Terms of Reference must submit the proof of payment of the corresponding value of RON4,000.

In order to participate in the auction, applicants have to buy the Terms of Reference and meet a series of qualification criteria, such as: the applicant must be a Romanian or foreign commercial company; its average turnover for the last 3 years or from the date of establishment must be of minimum EUR2,000,000; the life duration of the applicant company provided in its constitutive act must exceed 17 June 2025; all payment obligations to the state budget, social insurance budgets and special tax funds, contributions and other revenues as well as obligations towards ANCOM have to be paid in full. Companies belonging to the same group may not apply.

The Auction Commission will assess the application documents and will announce the applicants qualifying for the next stage, by 15 May 2014. Also, by 22 May 2014 it will announce whether auction rounds are required or not, depending on the supply/demand ratio. If the demand exceeds the available resources, the auction rounds will start on 5 June 2014.

The competitive selection procedure requires that each bidder submits an initial offer, indicating the number of multiplexes it wishes to purchase. Where the demand exceeds the number of available multiplexes, primary rounds will be organised until the demand does no longer exceed the supply. Where, upon the completion of the primary rounds, no bidder won some of the multiplexes, ANCOM may decide to organise an additional primary round to which all the bidders qualified in the tender stage may participate. The multiplexes in the UHF band – except for the multiplex under the free-to-air broadcasting obligation – will be allocated to the winners following the initial offer or the additional rounds, as applicable, by means of an allocation round.

ANCOM will auction out five multiplexes, four in UHF and one in VHF, in the DVB-T2 standard. The winner of the first multiplex in UHF (MUX 1) will have the obligation to broadcast free-to-air, under transparent, competitive and non-discriminatory conditions, the public and private television stations that are currently broadcast in analogue terrestrial system, in accordance with the provisions of the Audiovisual Law. Moreover, according to the Strategy elaborated by the Ministry of Information Society, this multiplex will have to ensure a coverage, in fixed reception, of 90% of the population and of 80% of the territory by 31 December 2016, as the only multiplex, out of the five available, bearing such coverage obligations. For the other multiplexes (MUX 2, MUX 3, MUX 4 and MUX 5), the operators will have the obligation to launch in operation – by 1 May 2017 – at least 36 emission stations for each of the networks corresponding to these multiplexes, installed one in each allocation area.

The starting price for each multiplex is EUR300,000 – the minimum licence fee established by the Government, upon ANCOM’s proposal. All the multiplexes will be granted for a 10-year period, while the licences will enter into force starting from 17 June 2015. The winners will have the obligation to pay the licence fee no later than 90 calendar days after the result is announced.

In Romania, the digital switch-over shall be completed by 17 June 2015, according to the 2006 Geneva Agreement signed by Romania and to the strategy approved by the Government. On 17 June 2015, all analogue terrestrial broadcasting will be switched off and replaced by the digital terrestrial broadcasting of radio and TV programmes and related multimedia services.