RAI breakup plan serves infrastructure rivals

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ROME -- The breakup plan for Italian state broadcaster RAI will allow the company's yet-to-be created infrastructure division to market to erstwhile rivals as well as market newcomers, the Ministry of Communications said Wednesday.

The new development is the latest in the government's plan to make the state broadcasting company's three networks less dependent on advertising revenue and less political in nature.

The plan involves dividing RAI into three entities: one to operate a commercial network, one to operate two advertising-free networks, and a third to operate the other networks' broadcast infrastructure.

The latest announcement means that the third company will be able to market its services to any broadcaster operating in Italy, including rivals Mediaset and Telecom Italia as well as a host of smaller regional broadcasters.

Analysts said the change could make it easier for new niche broadcasters to set up shop in Italy by allowing them to contract with the RAI entity for use of the company's infrastructure rather than being forced to pay for their own infrastructure up front.
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