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IRIS 2010-8:1/16


Tension in the Competition for a Public Multiplex

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Rayna Nikolova

New Bulgarian University

The executive director of Mobiltel declared before journalists on 14 July 2010 that there was a risk that all platforms for digital radio broadcasting in Bulgaria may be seized by unofficially associated companies and the market may be monopolised. This statement was made after on the previous day unofficial information leaked out that the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) had rejected the Mobiltel offer and that of Vivacom for receiving a license for the multiplex that will broadcast the programmes of the public media, the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) and the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR).

The CRC adopted a decision in May 2010 to organise a non-attendant competition for a permit for terrestrial digital broadcasting with national range which will broadcast the programmes of the public operators BNT 1, BNT Sat, Horizont, Hristo Botev, Radio Bulgaria plus the possible new programmes that the public television will create. For the public multiplex offers were made by Mobiltel, Vivacom (which recently closed a deal for the sale of one-half of the National Unit Radio and TV Systems (NURTS), now broadcasting the programmes of BNT and BNR, with the off-shore company Mancelord Ltd., represented by the owner of the Corporate Commercial Bank), Hannu Pro Bulgaria (which is a part of the Latvian media systems group and had already been awarded a license to develop three of the multiplexes for the private radio and television) and “DVB-T” (a group of seven companies led by Insat Electronics that support the networks of television Pro.bg and radio Express, Darik and FM+).

The future constructor and operator of the public multiplex will possess a permit for 15 years and will serve twelve towns in the country: Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Varna, Vidin, Kardzhali, Pleven, Plovdiv, Ruse, Smolyan, Sofia, Stara Zagora and Shumen.

The competition for the public multiplex was set up and the most important criterion when evaluating the offers was previous experience in the construction of such facilities, which is beneficial to Vivacom as an owner of NURTS. That is why the operator attracted as a partner a Hungarian company which had already realised such projects.

On 14 July 2010 the Communications Regulation Commission declared Hannu Pro Bulgaria the winner.

Решение № 749 от 14 юли 2010 г) BG
  Decision of the Communications Regulation Commission of 14 July 2010 EN