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With the analogue switch-off scheduled for 2020, Paraguay intends to launch its first digital free-to-ait (FTA) networks in 2017.

To this end, the Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Conatel) has opened a formal bidding process to award the first DTT licences. The awarded networks will have to start broadcasting through the digital standard immediately and won’t enjoy the three-year period that analogue networks have to change their technology.

Interested companies have a week to present their offers, after which Conatel will take up to a month to deliver the results, aiming to conclude the process before the year end. The three DTT networks will be awarded through a formal bid, unless three or less companies decide to participate, in which case the licences will be awarded directly.

“Next year Paraguay will have digital broadcasting and new channels,” said Alberto Ishibashi, broadcasting manager, Conatel. “And none of the networks currently on air are allowed to present a bid.”

The DTT licences for existing networks are being awarded through a different process. So far, Telefuturo, Paravisión, Red guaraní, SNT and RCP have got digital frequencies and are likely to start DTT tests before the end of the year.