Italy's Europa 7 to get RAI Uno frequency

11-year legal dispute resolved with a twist

ROME -- Europa 7, Italy's would-be broadcaster that never made it on the air because of a legal dispute, will be given the frequencies it needs to begin broadcasting -- more than 11 years after it went out of business after those frequencies were taken over by Mediaset's Rete 4.

The twist in the latest ruling is that it is RAI Uno that will provide space for Europa 7 to broadcast, and not Rete 4, which is controlled by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. RAI Uno will be able to operate as normal without the frequencies as it prepares to migrate to a digital signal by the end of next year.

Rete 4 shareholders had filed suit against Mediaset, requiring that the company give up the frequencies in question. But Mediaset has long maintained it did nothing illegal, exploiting a loophole in the law that allowed it to take over the frequencies legally.

It is unclear whether Europa 7 shareholders will seek to resurrect the company in Italy's fast-changing television sector dominated by Mediaset, RAI and News Corp. unit Sky Italia.